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Assessor says Garfield County could be in for richest tax year ever

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Real estate and other property in Garfield County is worth more than $5 billion, roughly one-third again as much as it was last year, according to a report from the county assessor’s office.

Assessor John Gorman, in a letter to the Garfield County commissioners, stated the corresponding likelihood that property tax revenues will take a flying leap upward for 2009, although he did not give a number because not all the final valuations, as reflected in appeals to the county board of equalization or higher, have been completed.

In a telephone interview late Monday, Gorman added that regardless of the adjustments based on the protests filed by taxpayers, tax collections in the coming year will be “the biggest, baddest, richest year ever in the history of Garfield County.”



But that, as the saying goes, may well be it for a while.

Gorman told the county commissioners on Monday, “This is the big bang before the bust,” explaining that in 2011, the year that the county collects taxes based on valuations for the current year, 2009, revenues can be expected to plummet by as much as 20 percent.



County Commissioner Tresi Houpt, after hearing his report, said that the prospects for 2011 “will put us in a position to plan well in advance, like we’ve never done before, in order to have stability in our budget.”

Gorman replied, “That would be very prudent.”

In his letter, Gorman reported that as of July 10, real estate in the county was valued at $1.24 billion, an increase of 34.5 percent over the 2008 value of $922.2 million.

The 2009 valuations are based on market conditions as of mid-2008, when home prices and just about every other measure of a lengthy economic boom were steadily rising.

As for the “personal property and oil and gas,” he reported, that was valued at $3.9 billion as of July 10, which he wrote is an increase of 71.7 percent over the 2008 value of $2.3 billion.

The values will increase further when the state submits its valuation of what are known as “state assessed property,” meaning property such as private utilities, railroads and others that cross county lines and are assessed by state officials.

The result of this massive increase in property value, Gorman reported, will be corresponding rises in the amount of money collected by the county after tax bills are mailed out in January 2010.

But the following year, he predicted, valuations will fall due to the ongoing recession and a steep drop in the prices that companies can get for natural gas that began in late 2008 and continues.

Earlier in the year, Gorman said, he cautioned the county commissioners that property tax revenues can be expected to drop by as much as 21 percent in 2011, compared to revenues expected next year.

jcolson@postindependent.com


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