Rapid increase in home prices drives Eagle County’s 2017 real estate value to $4 billion jump | VailDaily.com

Rapid increase in home prices drives Eagle County’s 2017 real estate value to $4 billion jump

EAGLE — Eagle County real estate is worth almost $4 billion more than it was last year, according to the Eagle County assessor's office.

After the latest round of property assessments, the value of Eagle County's real estate was set at $33.203 billion, up from $29.543 billion in 2016. The valuation reflects the local real estate market as of June 30 and homes and land are rapidly increasing in price, said Mark Chapin, Eagle County assessor.

Tax bite still unknown

What that assessment means to your property tax bill won't be known until the end of the year, Chapin said.

“Very rarely do we run into a situation where there’s an error or where someone has tried to sneak through a higher levy than they’re allowed.”Mark ChapinEagle County assessor

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Eagle County is home to 87 taxing districts, ranging from water districts to library districts to cemetery districts. Those 87 taxing districts will work through their budgets this summer and autumn to determine how much money they think they need, Chapin said.

Once those budgets have been finalized, each district fills out a mill levy form and sends it to the state of Colorado's Division of Local Government for review, Chapin said.

"We rely on the Division of Local Government to ensure that the math is being done right and that each of the entities have not overstated their levy, either by error or some sort of omission," Chapin said. "Very rarely do we run into a situation where there's an error or where someone has tried to sneak through a higher levy than they're allowed."

Once all of the math has been checked, the Division of Local Government forwards the levy paperwork on to the Eagle County Finance Department, which inputs the values into a database and presents it to the Board of County Commissioners for approval. Upon approval, the numbers are sent to the assessor's office, which uses the individual district levies to determine the total mill levies for each tax area.

How it works

On the surface, property taxes might seem complicated, but they can be broken down into a series of equations, starting with the Gallagher Amendment.

Approved by Colorado voters in 1982, the Gallagher Amendment changed the way homes were appraised. It also mandated that the amount of property taxes collected on residential properties (homes) had to always be lower than the amount of property taxes collected on non-residential property (everything else, including vacant land and commercial and agricultural property, as well as natural resources).

Gallagher stipulates that residential property taxes be capped at 45 percent of the state's property tax revenue. Non-residential property taxes comprise the other 55 percent. For obvious reasons, that ratio is called The 45/55 Gallagher Split.

Non-residential property is always taxed at 29 percent of its value. The residential rate can fluctuate to maintain the 45/55 Gallagher Split, Chapin said. After applying all of the math to maintain that split, residential property ended up with an assessment rate of 7.2 percent for 2018.

You are not taxed on your property's total value. You're taxed on its assessed value. To find that assessed value, multiply the value of the property by the 7.2 percent residential assessment rate.

For example, let's say your home is worth $350,000. You would multiply $350,000 by 7.2 percent to arrive at your assessed value of $25,200.

Multiply that by your tax area's total mill levy — a bureaucratic term for property tax rate — and that's the amount that will show up on your residential property tax bill.

If you own commercial property, then multiply your property value by 29 percent and then by your tax area's mill levy. That's the amount on your commercial property tax bill.

Here come the notices

This past year, Eagle County voters approved tax increases for four taxing districts:

• Eagle County Schools.

• Gypsum Fire Protection District.

• Eagle River Fire Protection District.

• Eagle County health services, the countywide ambulance district.

The Eagle County school district will take the biggest bite of your property tax dollar. Last year, voters approved the school district's request to borrow $144 million ($233 million with interest).

"The big item on the table is the schools and their voter-approved bond initiative," Chapin said.

The county treasurer will send tax notices to property owners in early January.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.