Change in soil values leads to heftier than normal tax bill for some land owners

Published 6:00 am Saturday, May 6, 2023

The past few weeks have been busier than usual for Clark County Property Value Administrator Jada Brady and her staff.

The office’s increased workload can be attributed to an overlooked component of property valuation: soil value classification.

A recent rise in soil values led to a heftier than expected property tax bill for many farmland owners in Clark County.

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Brady explained how soil value factors into farmland assessments.

“If you own a farm which is over ten acres, then you get what is called an ag exemption, which lowers the taxable assessment on your property. It is pretty significant and it helps out a lot of our farmers,” she said.

According to information from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, soil is divided up into eight rating classes with scores ranging from as low as five to as high as 100.

“You have soil class 1, which is your best, down to soil class 8, which is basically property that is not considered farmable,” Brady said.

A land’s soil class and rating factor into its composite productive unit, which, divided by the number of acres a property is, determines its land class rating. According to the Transportation Cabinet, land class rating is a factor that helps determine the price that land is valued at.

Brady said that the majority of the land in Clark County is considered class 2, meaning that there are few restrictions placed on it, and that is where the largest value increases have been.

“For the last several years, it was at $442 per acre…In November, the new soil class values that were put into place for 2023 through 2026 were put in and that raised that value to $710 an acre,” Brady said.

The state government determines the soil values every four years, and the values are then suggested to each county’s Property Value Administrator.

According to Brady, the values had not been updated “in a long time” in Clark County but were updated last November.

So, when tax bills were released, Brady’s office was flooded with calls.

The good news is that landowners can appeal their property valuation, but the deadline is coming up fast on May 15.

Agricultural landowners will need to make an appointment as they will need to do their appeal in person.

“We are taking a look at each individual property as they come in,” Brady said. “We are taking a look at our soil maps as well as our new aerial maps, which are much more up to date compared to the soil maps and we are able to physically see areas that maybe the soil maps had not picked up on  in order to put land into its correct classification.”

To make an appointment, individuals are asked to please call Brady’s office at (859) 745-0250. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be open from 8 a.m. to noon the next two Saturdays.