Tax valuation up? Breathe easy

Lynn BurtonPost Independent Staff

Residential property valuations in Garfield County are up, and the state-mandated residential assessment rate is down.Add the two together, do the math, throw in the TABOR Amendment, and the average homeowner will probably pay about the same in property taxes next year that they did this year.”Taxes increases will be conservative,” said Garfield County Assessor Shannon Hurst. “The taxes should be about the same.”Hurst’s office recently sent out property tax valuation notices, which reflect values based on market sales from Jan. 1, 2001, through June 30, 2002.”Any changes in the market after our appraisal date of June 30, 2002, will be considered in the next reappraisal year of 2005,” Hurst said.Colorado’s Gallagher Amendment mandates approximately 46 percent of the total assessed value of all property statewide be tied to residential property, Hurst said. To accomplish that, the residential assessment rate the county uses to compute assessed valuations and property taxes can rise or fall, Hurst said.The residential assessment rate used to compute this year’s property taxes was 9.15 percent. This week, the Colorado Division of Property Taxes dropped that rate to 7.96 percent this week, Hurst said. Here’s how the change would affect the owner of a $250,000 house in Glenwood Springs.Under the previous property tax formula, the $250,000 house was multiplied by the 9.15 percent residential assessment rate. That figure, $22,875, is then multiplied by the .058611 in mill levies assessed in Glenwood Springs, which comes out to $1,340 in local property taxes.Using the new 7.96 percent residential assessment rate, Hurst multiplied the theoretical $250,000 house by 115 percent, to reflect its increase in value for the next taxing period. That comes out to $287,500. She then multiplied that figure by 7.96 percent, and came out with $22,885. Multiply $22,885 by a .058611 mill levy and the taxes are $1,341, Hurst said.Mill levies could rise for taxes due next year, but the TABOR amendment limits them to a 5.5 percent inflation rate. “They cannot raise the mill levy without approval of the voting public,” Hurst said.The commercial assessment rate will remain at 29 percent, Hurst said, and commercial property values rose by an average of 25 percent countywide. Without a drop in the assessment rate, commercial property owners will feel the full brunt of the increase in value. Commercial and residential property owners may protest their valuations through June 2. Hurst recently told the Garfield County commissioners she expects a lot of protests from commercial property owners.One reason for the protests is the last valuation period ended near the top of the real estate market on June 30, 2002. “Those values could be higher than the current ones,” Hurst said.Countywide, New Castle led other towns in both commercial and residential property valuation increases. Commercial valuations were up 27 percent, and residential valuations 22 percent. The other towns, and unincorporated Garfield County, are as follows:-Glenwood Springs – Residential property up 16 percent; commercial up 15 percent.-Carbondale – Residential property up 14 percent; commercial up 19 percent.-Silt – Residential property up 17 percent; commercial up 14 percent.-Rifle – Residential and commercial property up 11 percent.-Parachute – Residential property up 8 percent; commercial up 13 percent.-Battlement Mesa – Residential property up 3 percent; commercial up 10 percent.-Garfield County – Residential property up 16 percent; commercial up 15 percent.Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext.

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