Moving into the tax cycle for 2009, assessors in Barry and Lawrence counties issued figures for what personal property and real estate are worth. This is an odd numbered year, during which reassessment takes place.
The most significant changes in assessments showed up in the personal property evaluations. Both counties saw a fall in personal property values. Barry County saw an overall drop of a little more than 3 percent, from $130,038,281 to $125,826,168. In Lawrence County there was a drop of nearly 8 percent, from $107,007,210 to $99,000,929.
Lawrence County Assessor Doug Bowerman had a simple explanation.
"We saw personal property declines happening early," Bowerman said. "We saw SUVs and pickups drop in value. Many people have them. The overall value goes down when the market value drops.
"I didn't see many new vehicles on the 2009 tax lists. You can see that pretty much across the state. What people had, they kept, from my point of view. The bulk of personal property valuation is vehicles," Bowerman said.
Combining the two counties, which shows up in the assessment for the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library, the personal property assessments add up to a drop of a little over 5 percent.
Close to Monett, personal property valuations actually increased. For the Monett R-1 School District, personal property assessments were up by $433,402 or almost 1 percent. The Purdy R-2 School District also showed a $174,857 increase of more than 2 percent.
The Barry-Lawrence Ambulance District, which extends from Freistatt to Purdy, encompassing both the Monett and Purdy school districts, saw personal property valuations drop by $895,314, or over 1 percent. Much of the drop seems to have come out of the Pierce City R-6 School District, where personal property valuations fell by $1,065,196, or 11 percent.
"Real estate valuations stayed static," Bowerman said. "We monitor the market as best we can. The increase came from new construction. There were no real estate shifts in different parts of the county. Monett was about the same as everybody else."
Real estate valuations in Lawrence County rose by $4.2 million to $298,120,009, or almost 1.5 percent. In Barry County, valuations rose by almost $9 million, or almost 3 percent, for a total of $306,476,357.
In the Monett R-1 School District, total real estate valuations rose by over $2.4 million to $105,557,908. Valuations in the Barry-Lawrence Ambulance District went up by over $3 million. In the Purdy R-2 School District, valuations went down by $900. Valuations in the Pierce City R-6 School District rose by over $700,000.
"Lawrence County is kind of isolated from the real estate trends we've been seeing on the east and west coasts and in places like Michigan," Bowerman said. "We have a very conservative population here. Usually people don't buy something here unless they can afford to pay for it. There are foreclosures----we always have some----but not many."
Bi-county assessments for the Monett School District, the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library and the Barry-Lawrence Ambulance District saw increases overall. The Pierce City School District was an exception to the trend, seeing an overall valuation drop of $356,216, or 1 percent.
Those seeking updates on property ownership and maps can find information on the Lawrence County assesseor's new internet web page at www.lawrencecogis.com, Bowerman said.