1,000-plus in Vali Valley appeal property values | VailDaily.com

1,000-plus in Vali Valley appeal property values

Chris Outcalt
Vail, CO COlorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” More than 1,300 county residents have already appealed their property valuations and those that haven’t still have a week and a half to do so.

The county assessor’s office reappraised property values in the county between Jan. 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008. The new valuations ” which will be used to calculate property taxes in 2009 and 2010 ” were mailed at the beginning of the month and went up an average of 13 percent.

State law mandates the county conduct reappraisals during that specific time frame ” a time when property values were still increasing, County Assessor Mark Chapin said.

But now, in the midst of a recession, people are wondering how their property value could have increased and many are appealing their appraisal because of it, he said.

So far, 1,333 people have appealed their new valuations. At the same time in 2007 ” a year when the average property value increase was 40 percent “1,322 people had appealed the county’s math.

“We’re running neck and neck with 2007,” Chapin said. “The only thing that’s prompting the appeals to be anywhere near where 2007’s were is that we’re in a recession.”

June 1 is the deadline to challenge an appraisal and plenty of appeals could still show up, Chapin said. In 2007, 5,500 appeals were filed.

“I would anticipate it will be higher than that,” Chapin said.

About 15 percent of county property owners challenge their valuations ” a number that’s traditionally bigger than neighboring counties, Chapin said. Usually between 25 percent and 30 percent of those appeals are successful, he said.

“We’ve always had a higher appeal load than other jurisdictions,” he said. “I think the reason is that we have a much higher level of education, a lot of people come in and question the process.”

Appeals in Summit County are usually closer to 10 percent of the properties. In Garfield county it’s around 2 percent.

In Summit County, 1,100 people have appealed their valuations so far this month.

“It looks like it could be 20 percent this year,” said Summit County Assessor Beverly Breakstone.

Four hundred and fifty appeals have been filed in Garfield County. Garfield County Assessor John Gorman thought this would be a bigger year for appeals, but it’s been pretty average, he said.

“So far, unexpectedly, it’s been the normal rate of protest,” Gorman said. “Their rate (of appeals) in Eagle County has always been higher than ours.”

Chapin is encouraging people to call the county if they have questions about their appraisals.

“If they feel that the value is in error or there are physical factors that we haven’t addressed, come in or call,” he said.

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or coutcalt@vaildaily.com.

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