By Ernie Over

The Fremont County Assessor mailed the 2023 notice of values to Fremont County property owners on Thursday. Assessor Tara Berg said the notices give a taxpayer the market value of their property as well as their estimated taxes for 2023. In general, Berg said the taxes are going up, again.
Property taxes are based on the market value of a property, which Berg said have also increased countywide. She stressed that her office does not set the market value, but rather the value is calculated based on market conditions. She said the Wyoming Department of Revenue provides cost data to each county. “There was a significant increase in these cost tables this year,” she said. “The cost value is then compared to sale prices and once that comparison is done, all property in an area is adjusted to [that] market value.” The current-year valuation is based on sales information from the previous year.
She said inflated prices paid by mostly out-of-state buyers is one reason the taxes are increasing. “Changes in property values vary depending on the location of a property and the sales in that particular area,” she said.

What’s going up
Agricultural land value will increase this year, Berg said, based on the price of hay and the capitalization rate established by Farm Credit Services to determine the productive value of the land. Other areas of the county will also see changes based on the reappraisals done by Berg’s office, which is required once every six years. Areas that were reappraised this past year included the Highland Park, Virginia Dale and all commercial properties located in the city of Riverton; in Lander all properties north of Main Street were reappraised; and in Eastern Fremont County, properties in Jeffrey City, Lysite and outlying rural areas were inspected.
In a news release, Berg said the actual taxes are set in August by the Fremont County Board of Commissioners, based on budget requests from county agencies, boards and commissions. Public hearings on those requests will begin later this month. “Taxpayers with questions about how their tax dollars are spent are encouraged to attend these meetings and present any questions,” Berg said. 
“All taxpayers need to read their notice carefully,” she said in a news release. “It is imperative to call the assessor’s office with any questions or concerns within 30 days from the date on the notice.”
Efforts to address tax increases were topics of dozens of bills in this year’s legislative session. Most of them failed. One bill that Berg was pleased with, did pass. It supported the continuation and expansion of the Property Tax Refund Program to include more taxpayers. (See sidebar story.) Unfortunately, another bill she liked was for the implementation of a Homestead Exemption for long-term residents. The Senate Revenue Committee killed the latter bill.