Clark County to see slip

For the first time in at least two decades, Clark County’s property tax revenue will drop below the previous year’s, compounding an expected budget crunch.

The county will pull in $82 million less as property tax revenue for the coming fiscal year falls to $2.238 billion from $2.32 billion tallied in 2008-09, according to a report from the county treasurer.

This dip does not surprise county officials, who estimated that 470,000 residents would pay lower property taxes this year and identified 717,000 of the county’s 727,000 parcels as losing value.

Still, they said it would be the first time in distant memory — and perhaps ever — that revenue slipped from one year to the next.

“No, I have never seen that before in my 20 years,” said Rocky Steele, an assistant county assessor. “I don’t know what’s going to happen next year. It still looks like it’s on the downward trend.”

Two records were set in the slumping economy.

About 470,000 owners are expected to pay less in property taxes, almost 25 times the 19,000 owners who saw their taxes decrease the year before.

And 6,000 owners challenged their assessed values for 2008, a dramatic jump from the 1,300 who filed appeals the previous year.

The number of residents filing tax appeals accounted for $72 million of the $82 million drop in revenue, Assistant Treasurer Rebecca Coates said.

This loss will be spread over 50 or so taxing districts, including a $12.8 million decline in the general fund, county officials said.

That’s a significant hit that exacerbates an estimated budget shortfall of more than $100 million, County Manager Virginia Valentine said.

County commissioners, who will start tackling the budget today, must deal with waning revenue on top of everything else in this tough economic time, Valentine said.

“This is going to be a challenging year,” she said.

Contact reporter Scott Wyland at swyland@reviewjournal.com or 702-455-4519.

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