Living in a mansion with a 14-car garage and Olympicsized swimming pool has its advantages. But for one Paradise Valley family, the lifestyle also means a property tax bill of more than $116,000.
That’s how much the Hormels will pay in fiscal 2006-07 on the $17 million McCune Mansion.
Maricopa County Treasurer David Schweikert said the 54,000-square-foot property generated the county’s highest residential property tax bill.
George Hormel, owner of the Wrigley Mansion and heir of Hormel Foods, lived in the McCune Mansion with his wife, Jamie, until his death in February at the age of 77. The artist and musician, known to his friends as “Geordie,” owned Village Recording Studio in Los Angeles and was known in the Valley for his charitable giving.
The next highest tax bill is $109,000 at another Paradise Valley property. That homeowner also owns the property next door and would pay a second bill.
Overall, the county will mail about 1.5 million tax bills this month.
Check your taxes now
You don’t have to wait for a property tax statement to arrive in the mail. The information is online at www.maricopa.gov/Assessor. Click on “advanced search options” and then enter your address. If you know your parcel number, visit http://treasurer.maricopa.gov
and enter the information under “parcel search.”
Tax rates vary
Q: Why do property tax rates vary so much from neighborhood to neighborhood?
A: Some school districts and other taxing authorities simply spend more money than others. But that’s just one factor. Here are four more:
More children per household means more classrooms to support in each neighborhood. The tax burden is greatest in high-growth areas that have to build new schools for young families. More than 30 percent of residents are under 18 in the East Valley’s fastest growing areas: Queen Creek, Gilbert and Chandler. In Scottsdale, Tempe and Fountain Hills, less than 20 percent of residents are under 18.
More expensive homes mean local tax districts can charge lower rates and still generate more income than less affluent districts. This helps Scottsdale and Fountain Hills, where the median home resale price in 2005 was about $500,000. In Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Tempe, median home resale prices were below $300,000.
Fewer homeowners per square mile means fewer taxpayers to share financial burdens. This sometimes forces higher tax rates in rural communities. Queen Creek has no municipal property tax, but the Queen Creek Unified School District charges one of the East Valley’s highest rates. This will change as the area fills in. The town quadrupled from 4,300 residents in 2000 to 16,600 in 2005.
Businesses pay higher property tax rates than homeowners. That means taxing districts with more commercial development can charge each homeowner less to operate.
SOURCES: Arizona Real Estate Center at Arizona State University, Maricopa County Treasurer’s Office and U.S. Census Bureau