Quincy to top Moses Lake in assessed values again

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QUINCY — For the second year in a row, Quincy is expected to outpace Moses Lake as Grant County’s most valuable city.

According to preliminary figures from the Grant County Assessor’s office, the assessed value of property within the Quincy city limits is expected to reach $2.7 billion, more than $600 million more than the assessed value of just under $2.1 billion for Moses Lake.

“It’s the data centers, houses are being built, Crescent Bar, expansion at The Gorge, a lot of agricultural construction,” said Curt Morris, a member of the Quincy Port Commission. “Everybody gets the benefit.”

Morris shared a copy of the figures at a special meeting of the Quincy Port Commission on Wednesday.

While total assessed property values are tentatively set to rise in Grant County to $10.8 billion in 2017 (for 2018) from $10.2 billion in 2016 (for 2017), most of that increase appears due to economic development in Quincy. “You can blame it all on the data centers,” said Grant County Assessor Melissa McKnight.

Most of that value is attributable to the data centers’ “personal property” — every computer, server, router, switch, rack, and emergency generator must be counted and valued. McKnight said most data center buildings themselves are little more than fancy warehouses, and wouldn’t be worth $100 million without all the equipment inside.

In fact, the task of counting and valuing equipment is an arduous one, and something McKnight said the Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR) is better suited to.

“Personal property for data centers has become insane,” she said. “DOR is going to start doing that next year.”

“We’re not done by any means,” said Patrick Boss, director of business development of public affairs for the Port of Quincy. “There’s a lot of good stuff set to happen in 2018.”

In fact, Boss said the little ports of Eastern Washington can hold their own against the state’s larger, West Coast ports.

“There’s an unusually dense number of large companies in Quincy and Moses Lake doing $100 million and $500 million projects. You don’t see that everywhere,” he added.

In terms of value, Quincy and Moses Lake are followed by Ephrata, with a total assessed value of $424.7 million, and then Warden, with a total assessed value of $222.1 million.

However, McKnight said the figures won’t be final until the county receives information on centrally assessed property from the state in late November. Some companies, like railroads, airlines, and telecoms, are so large or their assets are so scattered that the value of their property is assessed by states rather than county assessors.

McKnight said she expects to have change of value notices out to taxpayers next week, and the final assessments to the Board of Equalization at the end of November.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at countygvt@columbiabasinherald.com.

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