Aspen property taxes to remain steady
ASPEN – The Aspen City Council voted Monday not to increase property taxes next year.
The council voted unanimously to set the 2010 mill levy rate at 4.025, instead of taking the full 6.060. By not taking the full amount, the city government will credit property owners 2.035 mills, which is lower than what could have been levied.
With the temporary tax credit, property owners will pay 3.533 mills in general property tax, which is about $3.50 for every $1,000 of assessed property value. However, that rate is combined with a mill levy to clean up the Roaring Fork River, which was approved by voters in November 2007. The original storm-water fund mill levy rate was 0.65 mills, but the council will give a credit of 0.158 mills in 2010.
The rate could have been much more had the City Council capitalized on a windfall in excess property tax revenue as a result of a 35 percent increase in assessed valuations throughout Pitkin County between 2008 and 2009.
The net assessed valuation of the taxable property in the city of Aspen is nearly $1.7 billion. With the temporary credit, the mill levy will generate more than $6.8 million in 2010.
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The city of Aspen is one of 18 taxing districts in Pitkin County that voters have allowed to be exempt from TABOR, a state law that requires government to lower its tax rate when property values rise. When property tax revenues exceed the constitutional limit, those taxing districts, including the city, can choose to keep the windfall, lower the mill levy or provide a temporary tax credit to property owners.
When voters set the mill levy rate in 2005, they agreed that it would last until 2010. They also approved using any excess property tax proceeds to pay for new sidewalks throughout town, storm-water improvements, new hybrid buses and for building an outdoor pool at the Aspen Recreation Center.
The excess revenue available for those purposes in 2010 is calculated as $567,777.
2010 will be the last year that the 5.41 mill levy rate is in effect. By law, the City Council has to set the mill levy rate every year.
Aspen resident Mike Maple thanked the council for not taking advantage of the increased valuations, which some districts are choosing to do, including Colorado Mountain College.
He noted the city’s $6.8 million for next year’s property tax revenues is a 0.4 percent decrease over last year.
Mayor Mick Ireland said the 2010 mill levy will translate into about a $36 tax for a homeowner of a $100,000 property, which isn’t much considering all of the city services offered, he said.