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Eagle County’s property tax rate won’t change

Vail Daily staff report
Newsroom@vaildaily.com
Eagle County, CO Colorado

EAGLE, Colorado – Eagle County’s tax rate probably won’t change for 2010. That means tax bills will rise because the county’s property values rose in 2008, the last year the county calculated values.

In anticipation of a drop in property values next year, Commissioners Sara Fisher and Jon Stavney said they expect to keep the county’s combined mill levy – the rate at which property is taxed – at 8.499 for 2010. That rate hasn’t changed since 2004. If the tax rate stays constant, the June 2008 valuations – the most recent done by the county – will result in an increase of approximately $1.5 million to the county’s general fund for 2010 and 2011.

“The challenge we face is that June 2010 valuations are expected to result in a $3 to $4 million decrease in the years 2012 and 2013,” said Fisher.



While tax bills will probably go up in 2010, the county is also cutting its budget in anticipation of the drop in values that’s likely next year.

Following an early review of Eagle County’s proposed budget for 2010, in which departments were asked to cut operating expenses by 3 to 5 percent, County Manager Keith Montag has instructed department directors to go back and find more savings.

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Revenue projections compiled by the county’s finance department indicate that while the 2010 budget would balance based on initial cuts, the county needs to act now to prevent significant deficits over the following three years.

Property tax revenue is expected to drop 20 percent by 2012 and county sales tax collections are down approximately 20 percent from last year, with annual increases of only 3 percent projected in upcoming years.

“Fees and building permit revenues are also substantially reduced from last year and are not projected to rebound anytime soon,” said Montag. The county potentially faces a $4.4 million general fund deficit by 2012 and a $5.3 million deficit in 2013, Montag added.



“The two-year assessment cycle means that property tax revenues significantly lag current economic conditions,” Stavney said. “That’s what we are preparing for – a safe passage through that future storm.”

Responding to the request for more cuts, county departments have identified approximately $2.2 million in additional savings for 2010. The cutbacks will come through a combination of reducing program costs, offering early retirement packages to some employees and some layoffs.

“The decision to cut positions is not being made lightly,” Montag said.

Budget discussions have been underway since August and will continue over the next month. Final adoption is scheduled to take place in mid-December. Comments on the county’s budget can be sent to eagleadmin@eaglecounty.us.


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