For Eagle Ranch residents, their metro district property taxes are likely the largest single line item on their annual bill from the Eagle County assessor.
As a result, the announcement that the Eagle Ranch Metro District mill levy was increasing its mill levy from 38 mills to 50 mills for 2014 may cause some alarm. But while the district’s mill levy is going up next year, property taxes for the average resident should remain roughly level.
According to Eric Weaver of Robertson and Marchetti, P.C. of Edwards, the decrease in property valuation at Eagle Ranch resulted in the mill levy increase. The subdivision, like virtually every other locale in Colorado, has seen a drop in overall valuation. In Eagle Ranch, the overall assessed valuation decreased 24 percent, coming on the heals of a 33 percent decrease two years ago.
“Our debt requires an automatic increase in the mill levy to bring in revenues sufficient to fund the annual payments,” said Weaver. “To offset this decline, the mill levy had to increase from 38 mills to 50 mills to generate the necessary taxes.
Weaver noted that even with the higher mill levy, the average taxpayer will pay roughly the same amount to the district as last year, with only a .07 percent overall increase planned.
“By refunding a portion of our bonds during 2013, the district was able to avoid an increase in payments of roughly $90,000 annually,” said Weaver.
The Eagle Ranch Metro District brings in nearly $2.1 million in property taxes annually. Of that amount approximately $150,000 will go to operating expenses and $1.4 million will go to pay off the debt service — the bond issued to build the subdivision’s infrastructure and amenities.
The Eagle Ranch Golf Course was one part of the overall amenities package, and it collects revenues to offset its debt. However, in 2014, the golf course is expected to bring in $978,000 and cost approximately $1.4 million to operate.
That leaves a $451,131 deficit for the metro district to make up.
Smaller capital year
Weaver characterized 2013 as a large capital year for Eagle Ranch Metro. Weaver noted that to avoid property tax fluctuations, the district used reserve funds to pay for some of the capital needs. However, in 2014, the district will again begin building its reserve funds.
“The reserves we have on hand are needed for eventual capital replacements at the golf course,” said Weaver. “And, just as importantly, they enable us to keep a good credit rating on our debt which results in favorable interest rates.”