A Guide to Understanding Property Taxes

The process of taxing and collecting taxes is not a simple one. This guide contains information to provide the taxpayer with a complete understanding of the taxation process.

What is a property tax and how is it figured?

A property tax is an ad valorem tax - one that is based on the value of the property being taxed. The County Assessor is charged with the responsibility of determining the market value of your property. Once established, an assessment ratio determined by the legislature is applied to market value. The assessment ratios are currently 11.5% for industrial property and 9.5% for commercial and residential property. After multiplying the market value by the assessment ratio, the resulting number is called the "assessed valuation". The mill levy is applied to the assessed valuation to determine general taxes.

For example, assume you have a home worth $100,000 that is located in the city limits of Cheyenne. Figure your tax bill as follows:

First, determine assessed valuation => $100,000 (market value) x 9.5% (assessment ratio) = $9,500 (assessed valuation). Then, apply the mill levy to determine tax => $9,500 x .07600 (2002 mill levy) = $722.00.

What is a mill levy?

A mill is one one-thousandth of a dollar. Therefore, there is $1 of tax per thousand dollars of assessed value for each mill levied. The "mill levy" is the total number of mills applied to your assessed value. Various entities are legally entitled to charge mills against properties in their districts, subject to limits. The entities determine their budget needs, then levy the mills necessary to provide the needed funds.

As an example, here is the mill levy breakdown for a property located within the city limits of Cheyenne, along with the taxes for the example $100,000 home:

Taxing Entity Mills Tax
County 9.5 90.25
School District #1 26.00 247.00
State School Foundation 12.00 114.00
County School Fund 6.00 57.00
City of Cheyenne 8.00 76.00
LCCC 10.00 95.00
County Fair .50 4.75
County Library 2.00 19.00
Conservation District .50 4.75
Weed and Pest Control District
Total: 76.00 722.00


Entities that levy mills in Laramie County, with the 2002 levy amount:

State Treasurer - School Foundation Fund 12 mills
Laramie County School District #1 26 mills
Laramie County School District #2 25 mills
Laramie County 9.5 mills
Laramie County Fair .5 mill
Laramie County Library 2 mills
Laramie County Community College 10 mills
City of Cheyenne 8 mills
Town of Albin 5 mills
Town of Burns 5 mills
Town of Pine Bluffs 5 mills
Downtown Development Association (DDA) 10 mills
Laramie County Fire District #1 3 mills
South Cheyenne Water and Sewer District (SCWSD) 4.02 mills
Willow Pond Improvement District (WPID) 10.01 mills
Laramie County Fire District #2 3 mills
Green Meadow Improvement District 32 mills
Vandehei North Forty Improvement District 9 mills
Laramie County Fire District #3 3 mills
Laramie County Fire District #4 3 mills
Carpenter Water and Sewer District 8 mills
Laramie County Fire District #5 3 mills
Laramie County Fire District #6 3 mills
Laramie County Fire District #8 3 mills
Laramie County Fire District #9 3 mills
Laramie County Fire District #10 3 mills
Laramie County Weed and Pest Control 1.5 mills
Laramie County Conservation District .5 mill
Eastern Laramie County Solid Waste District 3 mills