Deadline nears for reappraisal appeal | VailDaily.com
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Deadline nears for reappraisal appeal

Veronica Whitney

Nearly 800 Eagle County residents are appealing the notices of property reappraisals they received earlier this month, said Mary Kessler, administrative manager for the Eagle County Assessor’s Office.

Residents who don’t understand why their property values changed have until June 2 to appeal. The appeals period began May 1.

As of Wednesday, the Assessor’s Office had received 769 appeals, Kessler said. That’s 9 percent fewer appeals than the office had at the same time in 2001, the year of the last reappraisal.

“But we expect to receive the bulk of the appeals next week, prior to the June 2 deadline,” she said. “We expect to get thousands next week. We usually get most of the appeals days before the appeal deadline.”

The Assessor’s Office had 4,985 appeals in 2001. Of those, 2,699 were denied while 1,325 went on to the County Board of Equalization. Those protests were up 22 percent over the 4,000 protesting the previous re-valuation in 1999.

“At this point in time, we are researching the appeals and haven’t made any decisions one way or the other,” Kessler said.

Notices of determination will be mailed on or before June 30.

How reappraisal works

All properties in the county, numbering about 44,000, are reappraised every two years. The 2003 reappraisals are based on real-estate market data collected from the 18-month period beginning Jan. 1, 2001, and ending June 30, 2002.

Property is valued based on sales prices of comparable or similar properties that sold within the above time frame. To reach those values, assessor’s staff members conduct physical inspections, sales confirmation, income and rental rate inquiries, as well as other data collection. This information is used to identify changes in the status of individual properties and economic conditions within the county.

“We have just 11 appraisers, so we can’t visit all 44,000 properties in the county every reappraisal year,” said John Harrison, chief appraiser for the Assessor’s Office. “But we visit every property at some point, usually when they are built, that’s how we know what there is in them. As a follow-up, we try to visit a property every four years or after it’s been sold. This provides a good basis for re-evaulation.”

Property changes

Kessler said people who saw their property value go up more than they expected should take the following factors into account:

– Land value can change if the “use” of the property changes. Examples are “vacant land” (unbuilt lot) changing to “residential” (improved with residence), “agricultural” to “residential” or to “vacant land” (where land is no longer used for agricultural purposes).

– Improved property value can change if there is an addition to the building that increases square footage.

“Improved property value can decrease where property is destroyed or diminished due to fire or other damage to property,” Kessler said.

“There’s still the possibility of a mistake, and that’s why we have the appeals period,” Harrison said.

Reappraisals notices this year showed that the value of all improved property with a structure increased at an average of 6 percent in the past 18 months. The total real estate value for 2003 is $18.2 billion, up from $16 billion in 2001.

This year, residential property owners in the nonresort areas of Eagle County saw the highest increase in property values.

“Rather than wait and protest the reappraisal after tax notices are mailed next year, people who want to appeal should do it right after they get their notices,” said Mark Chapin, deputy assessor for Eagle County.

The reappraisal appeals process

– The appeal period runs through June 2.

– Property owners should contact the Eagle County Assessor’s Office if they find an error, do not understand the Notice of Valuation or have questions about the current value or classification.

– The Assessor’s Office will provide owners with free information regarding their property and data on comparable properties sold within the 18 month assessment period – beginning January 1, 2001 and ending June 30, 2002.

– The appeal can be done in person at the Eagle County Assessor’s Office. If it’s mailed or faxed, it must be sent or postmarked by the date on the notice of value.

– The Eagle County Office of the Assessor is located at the Eagle County Building, 500 Broadway, in Eagle: mailing address, P.O. Box 449, Eagle, CO 81631; phone, 328-8640, or 1-800-225-6136; fax, 328-8679.

– If a resident isn’t satisfied with the results of the first appeal, they can appeal to the Board of County Commissioners.

– From there, residents have three choices: binding arbitration, the Colorado Board of Assessment Appeals or District Court.

– If they’re still not happy, they can go to the Colorado Board of Appeals.

– The last stop is the Colorado Supreme Court.

Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at vwhitney@vaildaily.com.


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