Just in case you are curious about such things -- as I am -- you might like to know that the lowest property taxes in America, by county, are $354 a year.

Obviously that's not York County.

It's Terribonne Parish, La., which is ranked 802nd and dead last in a survey done by the Tax Foundation, based in Washington, D.C.

The study looked at American counties with more than 65,000 residents, in which taxpayers paid school, county and municipal property taxes.

York County is, of course, included in the study.

But, as a taxpayer, you're not likely to be pleased with its ranking.

Back to Terribonne Parish, La., where the three types of property taxes combined are $354 a year.

Imagine that if you can.

I can't.

It's a figure so ridiculously low one has to wonder if someone hasn't made a mistake with the calculator. But no. No mistakes were made. So how can it possibly be?

Because here in York County the median property taxes were, at the time of the study, $2,886 a year. That ranks York County 163rd in the country. That ranking, by the way, is 163rd from the high end of the list, not the low end.

So York County has nothing to be self-satisfied about when it comes to property taxes.

For the record, York countians pay about $843 a year more than the national median property tax figure of $2,043.

And before we get all puffed up and feeling good about that fact -- as though it were something of which to be proud -- keep in mind York County's number would be a lot higher, a whole lot higher, if it weren't for the fact that the top 16 counties on the list are simply out of this world ridiculously high.

Of the top 16 counties, 11 are located in New Jersey and five are from New York. Here they are, in order, from one to 16: Westchester County, N.Y., ($9,945 a year); Nassau County, N.Y., ($9,289); Bergen County, N.J., ($9,081); Rockland County, N.Y., ($8,861); Essex County, N.J., ($8,755); Hunterdon County, N.J., ($8,431); Passaic County, N.J., ($8,281); Morris County, N.J., ($8,147); Union County, N.J., ($8,041); Somerset County, N.J., ($7,897); Putnam County, N.Y., ($7,841); Suffolk County, N.Y., ($7,768); Monmouth County, N.J., ($7,182); Middlesex County, N.J., ($6,674), Hudson County, N.J., ($6,645) and Mercer County, N.J., ($6,637).

There is plenty of reason to be happy York County isn't located in New York or New Jersey, I guess.

But my point is, if you removed the top 16 counties from the list, the national median property tax figure would be much lower, which would then mean York countians' property tax payout would exceed the national median by more than it already does.

Now there are lots of things about which York countians would be proud to be ranked 163rd in the nation.

SAT scores, for example. That would make us light up, wouldn't it?

And it wouldn't be a bad thing if York County ranked 163rd from the top in personal income per resident. I'd be all for that.

But property taxes? Not so much.

There is some small consolation about being 163rd on the property tax list, however. It means we don't live in Monroe, Delaware, Bucks, Chester, Berks, Northhampton, Lehigh, and Montgomery counties in Pennsylvania, all of which are higher on the list and all of which have higher property taxes than York.

Chester County, for example, has annual property taxes of $4,302 and Delaware County sits at $4,087. Of course, Adams, Cumberland, Lancaster and Dauphin counties all have lower property taxes than York, but not significantly so.

If it matters to you -- it does to me -- the York County ranking from one year to the next went from 175th to 163rd. Before that, it jumped (or dropped, depending on your point of view) 36 places in a five-year period.

But we're headed in the wrong direction. Our property taxes keep going up. We're losing ground.

It's not a pretty picture.

But I'm thinking most York countians already know that.

Columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. E-mail: lhick s@yorkdispatch.com.