Wright County Assessor Shari Plagge told the Belmond City Council Jan. 4 that a shortage of mid-level homes in the area is driving up prices.

  “We check the average assessed value of homes every year,” Plagge said. “The state requires that we assess homes between 95 and 105 percent of their sales value. Right now in Wright County, our assessments average about 93 percent of sales value. So we will have to increase the value of homes to get closer to 100 percent.”

  In 2019 the average home value in Belmond rose 3.28 percent. That number was 11.53 percent in Clarion, and 20.01 percent in Eagle Grove. “Home sales are still hot in Eagle Grove,” she said. “Values continue to climb. Overall, there were 172 homes sales in the county this past year.”

  When it comes to commercial property, the opposite is true. Plagge said the average assessed value of a commercial property in the county is 108 percent of the sales value. So her office will be working on lowering the assessed values of commercial property to get closer to 100 percent.

  But while home sales are higher than normal, and prices are rising, the total value of all property in Belmond -- residential, commercial and industrial -- has fallen.

  “For the upcoming tax year, Belmond’s total value is falling $685,000,” said City Manager Darrell Steven Carlyle. “That means we’ll have $11,700 less tax money coming in after July 1. We are going to have to look closely at spending in the city budget. The past two years haven’t been a problem because values rose. But not next year.”

  In order to keep assessments fair, the county assessor has a program to inspect the inside of every home. Eagle Grove was inspected in 2020. Belmond’s turn is in 2021. “In June or July we’ll be knocking on doors in Belmond and making interior inspections of all homes,” Plagge said.

  Rural homes will be inspected in 2022.