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Draft Bills Require Annual Ag Land Assessments, Documentation

PIERRE, S.D. – A legislative committee is passing along two proposals that require counties to assess agricultural land every year.

The sponsor of the draft bills says the bills also allow the state gather  property data from more sources.

A legislative committee is unanimously recommending bills that direct county assessors to annually assess the value of agricultural land. A director of equalization must also make a documented determination why or why not a change to assessed value took place.

In 2010, the state moved to property tax assessments based upon productivity.

Republican Representative Kirk Chaffee is a retired director of Equalization and proposed the two bills. He says some counties adjusted property tax and some didn’t.

“Of the years, which the change from a market-based system to the productivity-based system we’ve seen in some cases up to a 300 percent increase in assessed values, especially west river. What we’re trying to do is trying to find some equilibrium between counties that are making adjustments and counties that are not.”

Chaffee says he sees the bills putting more teeth into property adjustments.

One of the bills also allows the state to contract with other entities besides South Dakota State University to determine the income value of agricultural land.

State lawmakers will hear the bills during the upcoming 2020 session.

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