HARRISVILLE - Troy Somers knows the real estate value of every farm, commercial building and home in Alcona County, and when he adds them up they total $1.7 billion. About half that figure is used as the county's equalized value and is part of the tax formula, Somers said.
"The commissioners look at the taxable value so they can see how much they have for their budget," said Somers, who is the county's director of equalization.
The most valuable farmland is located in Harrisville Township, and has a true cash value of $19,794,731, he said. Greenbush has the lowest farmland value at only $2.2 million, but has been a historic gold coast when it comes to commercial businesses.
A six-mile stretch of US-23 contains 59 commercial parcels, including small motels and summer cottages, as well as food marts, gas stations and restaurants worth a combined real estate value of $12 million.
These small businesses generate an estimated $170,000 in revenues for the county budget, but Somers stressed the figure is "very loose."
"All those motels on Lake Huron - it's a getaway paradise in the summer," he said.
Harrisville Township has $10.4 million worth of commercial businesses, while the City of Harrisville is worth $7,914,621.
When it comes to industry, Gustin Township is in the lead, home to Viking Energy and a large forestry products plant near Lincoln. Combined, these industries have a real estate value of $12.4 million.
Homes in the county are worth $1.455 billion, with the most expensive cropping up in Alcona and Caledonia townships. Both communities flank the shores of Hubbard Lake, and Alcona stretches to Lake Huron where shore properties are valuable.
The wealth is a lake effect, he said.
"People with the greatest prosperity live on Hubbard Lake. It's by far one of the nicest lakes you'll find," he said.
The lake, though, covers approximately 8,800 acres of land. Since that means it's under water, it can't produce tax revenues. Same for the state parks, federal land, national forests, churches and other exemptions, he said.
Personal property is another class of taxes, and includes assessments on everything from soda machines to dumpsters and heavy equipment.
In Alcona County, this is valued at over $72 million, Somers said. The equalized value is $36 million, which generates $227,000 in taxes.
Overall, real estate prices are beginning to stabilize, he said.
Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.