Assessment terms are set by law |

Assessment terms are set by law

Mark Chapin
Vail, CO, Colorado

This letter is in response to the Vail Daily Editorial Board’s “Our View” column. The Assessor’s Office sends 2009 Notices of Value to all property owners May 1.

The basis of this 2009 reappraisal is real estate data collected from Jan. 1, 2007, through the appraisal date of June 30, 2008. Two separate Colorado constitutional amendments mandate the data-collection period and control the functions of all 64 Colorado assessors.

The Gallagher Amendment was voted into law by Colorado voters in 1982. This amendment created two basic premises in the assessment function. First, reappraisals would be conducted every two years (every odd year), and second, it created a split in the assessment of taxable property. In Colorado, residential property can only represent 45 percent of the total assessed value. All other property (vacant land, commercial) represents 55 percent of the total statewide assessment.

To maintain this split, residential property is assessed at a lower rate. For example, a single-family residence with a value of $500,000 is assessed at a rate of 7.96 percent, or $39,800.

A commercial property with the same $500,000 value is assessed at 29 percent, resulting in an assessed value of $145,000. The assessment is the taxable portion of value and creates the tax base for all tax entities within a county.

The TABOR amendment, or the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, was voted into the Constitution by Colorado voters in 1992.

A portion of the amendment directs Colorado assessors to use only the market approach in estimating value for residential property.

The cost, market or income approaches are still used in estimating value of all other classes of property.

Unfortunately, mandated reassessment is controlled by the Colorado Constitution, various amendments and state statute, which do not allow the assessor to take recent events like the recession and downturn in our local economy into account in estimating value of property for 2009.

Our neighboring counties are facing similar situations with inflating real estate values for this 2009 reappraisal and are experiencing the poor economy and recession as in Eagle County. Changes in the current real estate market will be addressed in the 2011 reappraisal, based on data from Jan. 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010.

Property taxes are determined by the 83 taxing entities in Eagle.

The school districts command the greatest amount of tax revenue, followed by metropolitan districts, water, sanitation, fire protection, county, cities and others. It is up to these various taxing entities to determine what property tax is paid by the property owners within the boundaries of their respective taxing areas.

I have met with a number of our local taxing entities. Many of them are already looking at

ways they can decrease mill levies to help limit property tax increases in 2010 based on this 2009 valuation.

Most entities meet in the fall to discuss their individual budgets for the next tax year. This is a good time for residents to get involved to help limit tax increases during the budget process.

Mark Chapin

Eagle County assessor

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