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Garfield County hits a gusher

Fueled by the growing oil and gas industry, Garfield County’s assessed valuation topped the $1 billion mark this month, said County Assessor Shannon Hurst.

“The values went up quite a bit this year,” Hurst said, referring to a 24 percent increase over 2001.

Of the county’s top 15 taxpayers, seven are gas companies, They account for $231.5 million of the county’s overall assessed value – 23 percent of the total.



And properties held by Williams Co. of Tulsa, Okla., account for four spots in the top 10 and a total of $182.5 million in assessed value.

Williams Production Co., a gas drilling and production company purchased from Barrett Resources in 2001, takes the first and third place spots, with $118.7 million and $31.3 million in assessed value.



Williams also holds a majority interest in American Soda, the sodium bicarbonate plant in Parachute. American Soda properties hold the fourth and 10th place spots on the valuation list, at $23.2 million and $9.3 million.

Other gas companies among the top 15 taxpayers are Ballard Petroleum L.L.C. at No. 2 with $34.7 million in assessed value, Mesa Hydrocarbons Inc. at No. 5, Calpine Natural Gas Co. at No. 7, Tom Brown Inc. at No. 9, and Grand Valley Gathering at No. 11.

Three other energy companies made the top 15 list: electric providers Public Service Co. of Colorado at No. 6 and Holy Cross Energy at No. 14, and oil shale company Oxy USA Inc. at No. 15.

Qwest Corp., the telephone company, holds the No. 8 spot, and Union Pacific Corp. the Omaha-based railroad, holds the No. 12 spot.

The non-industrial oddball in the group, Crystal River Limited Partnership, is developing River Valley Ranch in Carbondale. It ranks No. 13 in assessed value at $4.5 million.

For these commercial properties, the assessed value is 29 percent of the actual value. It’s the assessed value that’s used to calculate taxes paid to school districts, the county and other taxing districts.

Residential properties are taxed at 9 percent of actual value.

Hurst said the actual value of real estate and property in Garfield County is more than $5.15 billion.

Assessed value is about 20 percent of actual value.

County-wide, Hurst’s staff counted $362 million in actual value for vacant land, $3.2 billion in value for residential property, $535 million in commercial property, $125 million in industrial property, $29 million in farm and ranch property, $8 million in natural resource properties such as gravel pits and coal mines, $352 million in oil and gas properties, and $186 million in utilities.

Another $325 million in actual value of property, or $97 million in assessed value, is exempt from property taxation. This includes federal, state, county and town-owned lands, railroad rights-of-way, schools, churches and property owned by charitable groups.


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