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San Joaquin County supervisors to consider asking farmers for more property tax money

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Posted: Monday, November 21, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:34 am, Mon Nov 21, 2011.

San Joaquin County farmers stand to help pay for the county's loss of state Williamson Act funds. They will find out at Tuesday's meeting of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.

The board will consider taking advantage of Assembly Bill 1265, in which state lawmakers now allow counties to shorten their 10-year Williamson Act contracts with farmers to nine years. That would require property owners to pay a higher assessed value reflecting the shortened contract, County Administrator Manuel Lopez said in a staff report.

The change would result in a tax increase of up to 10 percent for farmers under the Williamson Act, Lopez said.

The Williamson Act is intended for property owners to keep their land in agricultural production for at least 10 years. The act reduces their property tax to compensate for not being allowed to sell their land to a housing or commercial developer.

Five San Joaquin Valley counties have adopted the provisions of AB 1265. If the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors adopts the Williamson Act changes, they would take effect with property taxes for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

The county used to get about $2 million in Williamson Act subventions from the state, but the county would recover $1.4 million of that amount if the board reduces the contract length, Lopez said.

But the state virtually eliminated Williamson Act funding in the 2009-10 fiscal year to make up for lost revenue at the state level.

Tuesday's board meeting will begin at 9 a.m. in the board chambers, 44 N. San Joaquin St. at Weber Avenue, sixth floor, Stockton.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 6:47 pm on Mon, Nov 21, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Barry... Great post!... I think you addressed the reality of farmer's plight very well.
    I wouldn't disagree with any point you made. However, I was talking in generalities.
    My main point is that many times when the cost of doing business goes up, the cost to the consumer is likely to increase as opposed to decrease. Fuel prices, labor, insurance and taxes all influence the profitability of farmers.
    My dad was a growers relations man for Gallo for some years and I clearly remember the growers having little control over the price per ton... but in the long run, I think the prices the consumer pays for the product generated will not go down as the cost of doing business goes up. I sincerely hope the tax is not increased on any farmer.

    I do appreciate you pointing out what I missed, which is the farmer sometimes reduces profit margin when they have no direct ability to increase the price of their product. Thank you!

  • Sam Heller posted at 5:59 pm on Mon, Nov 21, 2011.

    Sam Heller Posts: 176

    Barry, you Sir are a farmer. I appreciate you accurate response. Well said.

  • Barry Mettler posted at 5:42 pm on Mon, Nov 21, 2011.

    Barry Mettler Posts: 3

    If it were only that simple Darrell. Here's a little news flash for everyone out there. Farmers don't set the prices for their crops. Prices are determined more by supply and demand, wineries (for a major portion of local farmers), and marketing companies. While we do have some influence on come crops, the majority of farmers in San Joaquin county have to accept the price they are offered by wineries or trust that whomever is marketing their other crops (i.e. cherries, walnuts, almonds, stone fruits, etc.) is getting them the best price that they possibly can, given the conditions of the market, the quality of the crop, etc.. farming is one business where we grow the crop without always knowing what price we will be getting, and in some cases, if we will be able to sell the crop at all.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:49 am on Mon, Nov 21, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    The change would result in a tax increase of up to 10 percent for farmers under the Williamson Act, Lopez said.

    Then farmers will increase the price they sell food for. The consumer then pays more as the tax is then passed on to anyone who eats.



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