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About 26,000 tax notices are now being delivered to Sanpete County property owners.

And they contain good news for most taxpayers: they'll pay less - in some cases much less - than in the past when they go to the county treasurer's office in November with checkbooks in hand.It's all because the state Legislature voted to exempt 45 percent - up from 32 percent - of residential property valuations for tax purposes.

The legislative action not only affects local taxing entities but also school districts. The South Sanpete School District, for example, is reducing its 1995 levy to .007815 from last year's .00903. The state is making up the difference by increasing the Uniform School Fund.

According to Steve Kjar, Sanpete County assessor, most, but not all, taxpayers will benefit. Some will pay more because of increases in their property valuations. That could happen, for instance, to a homeowner who has added another room to a home.

And in some cases, the benefits could be elusive. Kjar used the example of a Manti property owner whose residential tax assessment will be $25 less this year than last year. But added fees will add up to more than the $25 saved. Those charges would have previously been covered by the property tax.

Another local resident said two minor home improvements had raised his home valuation to the point that he will pay more than before the legislative action was passed.

"In Sanpete," Kjar says, "we're seeing a dramatic increase in values based on fair market prices."