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Chittenden, Alfred K. (Alfred Knight), 1879-1930 / The taxation of forest lands in Wisconsin

Methods of assessing timberlands,   pp. 42-44 PDF (803.2 KB)

Page 43

tion in at least one or two townships each year.  The assessor is
accompanied by a lineman to assist in locating the description, and
the assessed value is determined at that time. In a strict sense no
cruised estimate is made. Such assessments are made each year on
lands not previously viewed by the assessor until the entire town
has been covered. In other towns there is very little evidence of such
systematic work being carried on, although occasionally it will be
found that an effort is being made in that direction.
  Cut-over land is usually valued at a fixed rate throughout a town,
varying only with a very rough classification of the soil as swamp,
hardwood, or pine land. As a rule no attention is given to such impor-
tant factors governing value as proximity to railroads, highways and
water. Cut-over pine lands are seldom assessed for more than $2
per acre, while cut-over hardwvood lands will rarely exceed $6 per
acre. In the extreme northern counties both cut-over pine and hard-
wood lands may be assessed as low as $1 per acre. Cultivated land in
some towns is assessed at the same values as cut-over land. Even in
the more developed farming communities the assessed values of cul-
tivated lands seldom exceed $10 per acre, although the sale value in
many cases is five times as great.
  Instead of an actual examination of timbered land there is more
often merely an interview with the owner. In most of the hardwood
regions the land is not considered separately. However, when any
estimate is made, the land and trees are treated separately. For ex-
ample, in the one county, where practically all the timber is estimated,
value of $2 per acre is always added to the assessed value of the
timber. The county just referred to is the only one where it is known
that cruises for estimating the timber for tax purposes have been
made throughout the county. In some towns the cruised values of
a considerable portion of the timbered area are, of course, known to
the assessor, who is either an officer or employe of one of the com-
panies having extensive holdings in the town, but such cruised values
are evidently not used in making up the assessment roll. In such
eases the assessor uniformly keeps the assessed value as low as pos-
sible, not only on the company's holdings but also on all others. In
adjoining towns, where the assessor is not so connected with a large
owner, it will generally be found that assessed values are higher.
  Assessments are lowered when the owner reports that the timber
has been removed, and it is, therefore, classed as cut-over land and
assessed at the prevailing rate for such land in the town where

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