Garfield County tax protests about the same as those after 2007 reappraisal |

Garfield County tax protests about the same as those after 2007 reappraisal

John Colson
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” A total of 215 county taxpayers had filed protests over the 2009 valuations of their property as of Tuesday, according to an official in the Garfield County Assessor’s Office.

Deputy Assessor Lisa Warder said that number is “right in line with the 2007 reappraisal,” when she said the jump in assessed valuations of property around the county was nearly as great as this year.

“The difference was, the economy was better and the real estate market was stronger,” Warder said, so property owners generally felt that their property was worth more than the assessor did.

Another difference between 2007 and this year, Warder said, is that the phones seem busier than in previous years, with calls from taxpayers confused about the valuation notices they recently received in the mail.

“We’re probably getting more phone calls than we did last time,” she said, referring to 2007, the last biannual revaluation. “This is day eight (since the valuation notices were mailed out). I’m not sure what to expect this year.”

Every two years, state law requires that assessors determine the current value of taxable real estate and personal property. This revaluation takes place in the spring, with valuation notices sent out to taxpayers on May 1 as a precursor to the issuance of tax bills the following January.

This year’s valuations rose by as much as 60 percent in some parts of the county, although increases more commonly came in around 35-40 percent, officials have said.

Property owners have until the end of May to protest their valuations, and the assessor’s office has until the end of June to issue responses to the protests. If the property owners are not satisfied, they have until mid-July to request a hearing at the county’s Board of Equalization.

“What we’ve really been trying to focus people on [is that] there are a number of things that affect your taxes,” said Warder, describing the most common issue that her office has to deal with.

She explained that while the assessor determines the value of property for taxation purposes, the actual tax bill is based as much on the mill levies of the various taxing entities as on the value established by the assessor’s comparative analysis system.

“We are not the final frontier here,” Warder continued. “We are the messengers.”

She stressed that taxpayers have the right to go to the taxing districts ” including school districts, ambulance and hospital districts, transportation districts and many others ” when the directors of those districts are determining their budgets for the coming year, which in turn determines the district’s mill levy and the bills sent out to taxpayers.

She said there had never been a true taxpayer revolt in her experience, where angry property owners showed up at budget hearings and demanded that costs be slashed to reduce tax bills.

“It’ll be interesting to see if they go beyond this office,” Warder remarked.

Contact John Colson: 429-9143

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