Yesterday I wrote an article about how increasing and decreasing property tax values have resulted in classification changes for 17 counties. The classification system doesn’t mean much beyond how much the elected officials in the counties earn, but they are calculated based on something more important—property tax values.
Counties rely on property taxes for their income, it’s easily their largest source. So you can get a bit of an idea of how a county is doing, based on whether or not property taxes are increasing or decreasing.
Here’s a map.
Only 10 out of 55 counties saw decreasing property tax over the last two years, and a major contributor to that is the decline of the coal industry. As mines have left or gone bankrupt, they’ve taken equipment and businesses with them, and since those are taxed, these counties see a decline in property tax values.
When I was talking to Sam Rogers, a county commissioner from Ritchie County, he mentioned that the biggest reason his county moved up three classifications was because of the oil and gas industry, particularly the marcellus shale. So I pulled a map from the WV Geological and Economic Survey to be able to compare.