Local governments worry about revenue | VailDaily.com

Local governments worry about revenue

EAGLE, Colorado – Property values could be down by another 20 percent when the data is analyzed later this year, said Eagle County Assessor Mark Chapin.

That would come on the heels of a 23 percent drop in 2010.

“Our market continued to decline through the early part of this year. When we did our initial evaluation for the data collected earlier this year, it indicated property values could decline by another 18 (percent) to 20 percent from 2010,” Chapin said.

The property-value decline would mean another budget hit for local governments that are fueled by property tax revenues, such as the Eagle County government and Eagle County School District.

The rollback in property values has the county government looking at a $3 million shortfall by the 2014 budget cycle.

The general fund, the checkbook that the county government uses to conduct its day-to-day business, is already running slightly in the red, after the county commissioners opted to cover additional spending on social services with reserve funds. The general fund has $31.8 million in revenue and $32.3 million in spending, according to the the county’s budget, posted on its website.

The county’s general fund budget deficit is $498,257. Of that, $479,208 was transferred from the county’s general fund to the county’s social services department, according to the county’s budget.

The county’s social services department has a $926,944 fund balance, according to the county budget.

Right now, the county’s total revenue is $88 million and it is projected to spend $84 million.

Property-value calculations are made based on real estate sales data collected between June 30, 2010 and June 30, 2012, Chapin said.

“That 24-month period will determine what the changes in the market will be,” Chapin said.

The county assessor’s office will continue to collect as much information as possible through June 30 and then analyze it. It’ll take until April 2013 to nail it down, Chapin said.

“You can’t change it – you have to follow where it leads,” Chapin said.

The local real estate market is beginning to stabilize, especially in the eastern end of the valley, Chapin said. In the western end of the county – Eagle, Gypsum, Basalt and El Jebel – the market remains in flux.

“Where the market went up by huge amounts during the recent inflationary periods it also went down by a huge amount,” Chapin said.

Reappraisals roll around every two years.

The last time around, between 2008 and 2010, property values declined by 23 percent. Those values, and the corresponding decline in property tax bills that went with them, went into effect in 2012.

The continued uncertainty in the real estate markets could mean another 20 percent decline in revenue for governments that depend on property tax revenue

But it’s still early, Chapin said.

“We’re still analyzing data and looking at properties, and we will be through June 30,” Chapin said.

And the last estimate – a 30 percent decline – turned out to be on the pessimistic side

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

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