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Pulaski property assessed value increases 4.4 percent to $398 million
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (July 20, 2010) — County Assessor Roger Harrison reported Monday that Pulaski County’s assessed valuation has grown significantly, which should result in growth rather than decline in the county’s property tax revenues this fall.

Speaking before the County Board of Equalization, which includes not only the commissioners but also three additional representatives, local banker Keith Pritchard, local real estate agent Jim Lord, and County Surveyor John Mackey, Harrison said the county has a total assessed land value of $398,400,225, not counting railroads and utilities. That reflects a 4.4 percent total increase in assessed value, of which 2.5 percent is personal property and 4.9 percent is real estate value.

While housing starts nationally are facing a steep decline, that’s not the case in Pulaski County where 354 new homes were added to the assessment rolls compared to 255 the previous year.

“We built quite a few homes last year also,” Harrison said. “We’ve got a lot of construction going on but it’s not causing inflated prices.”

County Clerk Diana Linnenbringer said Harrison told her that the personal property tax assessment declined last year but he didn’t know why.

Harrison said he does now.

“It turned out to be ‘Cash for Clunkers,’” Harrison said. “It caused all the big gas guzzlers to go down in value quite substantially, but now gas is down and the value has gone up.”

The total assessment picture for Pulaski County is substantially different from many other counties in Missouri and nationally, Harrison noted, due largely to the role of Fort Leonard Wood.

“We’re pretty fortunate,” Harrison said.

Presiding Commissioner Don McCulloch, a Democrat, said the positive economic bubble experienced in Pulaski County is due mostly to fellow Democrat Ike Skelton, who as a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives chairs the House Armed Services Committee and has promoted major expansion of Fort Leonard Wood. Skelton is running for re-election this year in a tough race and is expected to face either State Sen. Bill Stouffer or former State Rep. Vicki Hartzler, the two leading candidates in the Republican primary.

“If Ike Skelton loses, this place will close up like a ghost town,” McCulloch said.

Western District Commissioner Ricky Zweerink, a Republican, disagreed.

“You’ve got to understand, Don, he’s not going to be in there much longer anyway. What is he, 78 years old?” Zweerink said.

After reviewing Harrison’s assessment reports, Eastern District Commissioner Bill Farnham noted that the county has grown not only in property value but also in population since the last census ten years ago, and since the growth hasn’t been even throughout the county, his eastern district now has considerably more people than Zweerink’s western district.

“There’s going to have to be redistricting after the census, I would think, because we’ve had so much growth, but I don’t have a clue how that works,” Farnham said.

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