Polk County sees major growth in taxable value of property
The taxable value of property among Polk County cities grew more than 160% in the past two decades, according to an analysis by Axios using Iowa Department of Management data.
- It's now nearly $30 billion.
Why it matters: Taxable value reflects the economic health of a community.
- The data can help metro planners assess what economic development incentives work.
By the numbers: Des Moines added the most taxable value by dollar amount — more than $4 billion, an 83% increase.
- West Des Moines added $3.7 billion and Ankeny added $3.5 billion, increases of 172% and 371% respectively.
- Statewide, cities more than doubled their taxable values to about $117.4 billion.
What's happening: New developments and soaring sales prices are behind the growth.
- Next year, residential properties will assess at 22% higher than in 2021, Polk County assessor Randy Ripperger projected earlier this month.
- Commercial property assessments will increase by an estimated 18%, he said.
Of note: The DSM area's population increased almost 19% between 2010 and last year, making it the fastest-growing metro by percentage in the Midwest, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
State of play: Economic development incentives play a role in the growth and there is debate among some groups about whether some are worth the investments.
- Tax Increment Financing (TIF), for example, adds hundreds of millions of dollars in value annually across the state, according to an Iowa League of Cities report.
Yes, but: Groups like Common Good Iowa have for years cautioned that TIFs can be overused and drive up property tax rates.
Zoom in: Incentives are frequently adjusted to help meet development goals.
- Des Moines narrowed tax abatement incentives last year for projects that don't meet enhanced efficiency standards.
- Meanwhile, new residential tax abatements were phased out in Bondurant as the city focuses more on growing industrial and commercial businesses, city administrator Marketa Oliver told Axios.
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