Eagle County: May is time to appeal property values
Vail, CO Colorado
April 29, 2008
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Not happy with the property value appraisal of your home, business or land?
The month of May is your opportunity to appeal, said County Assessor Mark Chapin.
The Assessor’s Office hears appeals of property valuation from May 1 until June 2. The appeal can be done in person at the Assessor’s Office, by mail, fax or e-mail. Owners need to provide evidence of any sales of the property or comparable properties, or information correcting the details of the property, such as the square footage of the building, total number of baths or bedrooms, or outside buildings.
The assessor will make a decision on each appeal by the end of June. Chapin said a common misconception is that the Assessor’s Office determines property taxes ” actually, taxes are determined by the valuation and tax rates of individual towns and metro districts, he said.
Still property valuations can be a confusing process for residents, Chapin said. We sat down with him to get some of our basic questions answered.
Q: What is the assessor’s job?
Mark Chapin: My job is to reappraise all real and personal property every odd year. We inspect every property at some time or another, usually when it’s a new development.
Like with a new home, we inventory within the home, the square footage, and quality of construction, and we determine the depreciation. Every eight years we make the rounds again.
We also use every sale that occurs. If your neighbor sells their home, it can have a direct impact on the estimated value of your home.
Q: How do we know the assessment is right?
MC: We’re audited every year by the state to see if the county has complied. We’ve passed every audit as long as I’ve been in Eagle County (1999). If our numbers were wrong, we wouldn’t have passed the audits. There’s a state ordered re-appraisal if we’ve overvalued or undervalued.
Q: So what happened during the last assessment, and how did that affect property taxes?
MC: In Eagle County, as well as in other mountain communities, we saw a rapid appreciation of property value. From June 2004 to June 2006, there was an average of a 38 percent increase. Property taxes went up an average of 20 percent to 22 percent. In some cases (property taxes) doubled. In some cases it went up slightly.
If you’re within a metro district, it’s likely you pay more property taxes. For example, in Cordillera, they went up an average amount. In the town of Vail property values went up a great deal, and also in Beaver Creek.
Q: Has such a big increase happened before? How does this compare to other counties in Colorado?
MC: We saw a large increase between 2000 and 2001. (Property values) went up about 20 percent. It was a whopping increase, but we have to follow it. It’s not always pretty.
Is Eagle County the only county with this explosion? The answer is no. Summit (County) saw a 22 percent increase, Pitkin was 41 percent, Crested Butte was 49 percent, and Mesa was 35 percent.
Q: So what if people want to appeal their valuations?
MC: May is the time to contest. We offer everyone the right to come in.
Q: What are your predictions for the next valuation? Will property values continue to rise?
MC: The next appraisal is in 2009, and it’s not likely to be as high. Given the numbers up until now, they indicate that they’re not going down, but that there will be less of an increase. It’s more typical as to what we’ve seen in the past.
Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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