Garfield property valuations mailed; expect big increase

The Garfield County Assessor’s Office has sent approximately 25,000 notices of property valuation to all residential, commercial, agricultural and vacant land owners in the county, signaling the start of the appeal and protest period before the county’s assessed valuation is certified later this summer.

Garfield County Assessor Jim Yellico said notices were put in the mail Friday, and owners should be receiving them by the early part of this week.

Overall, valuations in the county have increased “significantly” since the last revaluation year two years ago. This year’s values, which will be used to calculate 2016 property tax assessments, are based on property values as of June 30, 2014.

“We are always looking backward by a year, which can be confusing to people,” Yellico said in explaining that property values for county assessment and tax purposes are different from current market values.

The county’s valuations are, however, based on actual property sales during the 18 months prior to the June 2014 date, he said.

“Garfield County is going to see one of the biggest increases in the state this year,” Yellico said. “We have seen values go up almost 40 percent for the county as a whole.”

While much of the state saw a large increase in property valuations in 2013, Garfield County values have taken a little longer to catch up, he added.

“We didn’t see a very big increase two years ago, but that has changed with the latest valuations,” Yellico said.

Agricultural land in particular has gone up substantially in value, not necessarily because of the value of the land itself but based on the land’s ability to produce, Yellico also explained.

Now is also the time for property owners who dispute the values set by the county to do something about it.

“May is the month that benefits the taxpayer the most,” Yellico said.

That’s when home and property owners can appeal their valuations if they disagree, especially on such things as square footage, or the number of bedrooms or bathrooms in a home, he said.

If a property owner and the Assessor’s Office can’t come to an agreement through the appeals process, a formal protest can be filed and a hearing held before the county commissioners acting as the Board of Equalization. Additional appeal procedures are also in place.

Appeals can be done in person at the Assessor’s Office, by mail with the form provided with the valuation notice, or online at

“A lot of people aren’t aware that there is a problem with their valuation until their tax bill comes in January,” Yellico added. That’s OK, he said, because property owners can still appeal their valuation next May, and if any changes are made they would be retroactive.

A dollar figure for the latest county property valuation is not yet available, as that won’t be certified until August after the appeal and protest period, he said.

According to Garfield County’s 2014 abstract of property valuations, the county had a total assessed valuation of nearly $3.2 billion, not including about $227.6 million worth of tax-exempt properties.

Oil and gas properties are valued on a different cycle than other properties, so new oil and gas values will come later, Yellico said.

The 2014 abstract also shows that residential properties made up $353 million of the total, commercial property came in at $295.1 million, vacant land accounted for $78.9 million, followed by agricultural at $23.8 million and industrial at $10.9 million.

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