Real estate assessments in Raleigh County are down by around 30 percent, or $69 million, in 2015, according to a February report released by the Raleigh County Assessor's Office Board of Equalization and Review.

Assessor Drema Evans reported that a loss of values in natural resources and minerals, which she attributed to a decline in the coal industry, is the main reason for the decline.

Reserve coal valuations were down statewide, according to the report, with the aggregate ratio at 0.2584, down from the 0.3851 ratio in 2014.

Under state code, those figures reflect the aggregate reserve value divided by the aggregate reserve index.

"We lost our value in natural reserves," said Evans. "We didn't lose it in residential property."

Evans said depreciation tables, increased farm discount filing and real estate market adjustments in some parts of a Daniels subdivision also contributed to the decline in real estate evaluations, along with a dip in oil and gas caused by a three-year weighted average on existing wells, and no new wells.

Real estate tax assessments reflect 60 percent of market value.

Natural resource assessments were down by $10.4 million, and personal property producing oil and gas were down by $108,164.

Total real assessments for 2015 were over $2.2 billion, minerals was just over $178 million and new construction contributed just over $14 million. That's around $23 million lower than the total real assessments for last year, according to the report.

The report showed that mineral taxes rose slightly from 2010 ($166.1 million) to 2011 ($166.3 million), dipped in 2012 to $163 million, then rose to nearly $207 million in 2013.

In 2014, mineral collections dipped to around $189 million.

The budget for the Raleigh school system is expected to take a nearly $1 million hit, because the property valuations decreased levy collections.

Levy taxes support teacher salaries, insurance, professional employee support, free textbooks, instructional support, student activities, maintenance, capital improvement of facilities, transportation, summer programs and various related student activities, Raleigh schools treasurer Darrin Butcher reported.

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