Local appraisal values are a mix of increases and decreases for each of the 15 taxing entities within Terry County this year, according to a report obtained by the Brownfield News.
 Chief Appraiser Ronnie Burran said as a whole, the certified appraisals were better news for area local entities than preliminary projections showed.
“Our early numbers showed some pretty drastic decreases, which would have meant some big cuts for the school district and the county,” he said. “But when the final numbers came in, everybody came out okay for the most part.”
Oil prices have remained steady -- mostly at or above $100 a barrel -- throughout the year, but some entities saw a decrease in mineral values. Burran attributed some local mineral value declines to slower production in older well fields inside the boundaries of certain entities.
Terry County’s tax base, which was down last year, moved back up in 2014 with a 3.26 percent increase to about $1.36 billion, up slightly from last year’s value of $1.32 billion.
The certified figure of $1,365,584,742 for the current year is $43.1 million higher than last year’s base.
Land values were mostly stagnant county wide, while personal property values fluctuated wildly with double digit increases in some entities and double digit decreases in others.  
Mineral values also varied, depending on which district was calculated.
The Brownfield CISD saw a three percent decrease in mineral values, while Terry County marked a five percent increase.
In total, Brownfield CISD is down less than one percent to $856 million, compared to the 2013 base of $864 million.
Meadow ISD will suffer a decrease of more than eight percent compared to last year, appraised at $69.5 million this year and $75.9 million last year.
Wellman-Union CISD saw large increases in values, notching a gain of more than 23 percent, thanks to drilling activity in the southwest portions of the county. Mineral values in that school district skyrocketed by $67 million dollars in 2014, a 36.3 percent rise.
Wellman-Union’s mineral values rose more than 72 percent between 2011 and 2012, but stayed flat stayed flat in 2013, then rose again this year from $185 million to more than $251 million.
The City of Brownfield saw its net taxable value rise by more than eight percent, even though the city has no minerals to value.
The increase is attributable to sharp increases in the real estate market, evidenced by a 17 percent increase in personal property values.
Brownfield’s net tax base is $212 million this year, compared to $196 million last year.  
The appraiser said his main duty is to appraise all properties at fair market value, regardless of whether the numbers go up or down.
“Some people think we go out and adjust the numbers to meet some kind of a goal value,” he said. “That’s not how this works at all. We appraise properties and then pass the information on to the entities who adopt a rate to generate the income they need. And then when we collect the taxes, all we do is pass it along to those entities as well. We’re just a third party in the whole process.”
Buran’s office also collects the taxes for nine of the 15 entities it appraises for. Collection rates have remained above 98 percent county wide for several years.
The appraisals and tax rates for each entity in the county can be seen on Page 8 of this issue of the News.