County updates criteria for ‘Clean and Green’

SMETHPORT – The McKean County Board of Commissioners has established new criteria linked with the state-authorized “Clean and Green” program.“Clean and Green” offers tax relief to owners of at least 10 acres of agricultural or forest land.The program is designed to encourage property owners to retain their agricultural or forest land rather than sell it for development.Acting at a meeting Tuesday at the county courthouse in Smethport, County Commissioners Joe DeMott, Al Pingie and Cliff Lane endorsed a resolution that sets forth criteria for the 2013 tax year.The three key classification assessment rates include:*Agricultural use-- $378 per acre.*Agricultural reserve-- $245 per acre.*Forest reserve-- $255 per acre.All three rates, the same as last year, are below the figures suggested by the state, according to Angela Tennies, chief assessor for the county.The state lists agriculture use rates at between $479 and $648, she said. The state lists agricultural reserve rates at between $344 and $527. The state lists forest reserve rates at $297.38.DeMott said “most counties” establish their own rates for “Clean and Green” rather than adopt the state figures.Tennies, who addressed the commissioners, said the criteria set forth in the resolution would help correct “uniformity issues” with “Clean and Green” in McKean County.Due to reassessments, she said, some of the “Clean and Green” participants pay more property taxes than they should because their new market values are less than their “Clean and Green” figures.Tennies pointed out that owners of forest land have the opportunity to hire consulting foresters to develop reports to help them further reduce their assessments.See full article by purchasing the June 27 edition of The Kane Republican.