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Property value appeals drop in county

Veronica Whitney

Eagle County residents this year apparently found the county assessor’s estimated values of their properties to be more accurate than during previous reappraisal periods.

So far, the Eagle County Assessor’s Office has received almost half the appeals for property reappraisals than it did in 2001, Assessor Joyce Mack said.

“We were really proactive with communication,” Mack said. “We had five segments on Channel 5 explaining the assessment process.”



Following this year’s reappraisals, the Assessor’s Office received 2,865 appeals for all real estate properties in the county; of those, 1,130 were adjusted, 1,708, were denied and 27 were withdrawn.

In 2001, the previous reappraisal year, the Assessor’s Office – then under Jody Caruthers – received 4,985 appeals; of those, 2,699 were denied and 1,325 went on to the County Board of Equalization. Those protests were up 22 percent over the 4,000 filed in 1999.



The drop in appeals this year was a surprise, said Mark Chapin, deputy assessor for Eagle County.

“I predicted that we would have more appeals than in 2001 because we had property values still increasing in a flat real estate market,” Chapin said.

The appraisals are based, among other things, on real estate market data collected throughout the past 18 months. The 2003 reappraisal was based on data from the period beginning Jan. 1, 2001, and ending June 30, 2002.



So far this year, 1,130 properties – of about 41,000 reappraised – have been adjusted in the county. The Assessor’s Office received 41 personal property appeals on homes and land, and 22 of those were adjusted while 9 were denied.

“The most important number, however, is that we had 42 percent less appeals in 2003 than in 2001,” Chapin said. “We must be doing a better job. It’s probably because we’re more accurate. We have a very professional staff.”

The assessor’s 11 appraisers are all licensed or certified with the State of Colorado.

“To do the adjustments we look at the square footage correction, attributes of the property and listen to property owners’ reasons for their appeal,” Chapin said.

Another reason why Chapin said he expected more appeals was that this was the first year the Assessor’s Office included building attributes – number of bedrooms, baths and age of the property – in the reappraisal process.

“Still, we had less appeals,” he said. “We consider a typical appeal period to be 3,500 appeals,” said Chapin, who has spent 12 years with the Assessors Office in Eagle County and worked under four different assessors.

“I think our estimated values were better,” Chapin said.

So far, the appeals are still at the assessor level, Chapin said. The County Board of Equalization is the next step available in the appeals process.

Following the County Board of Equalization, residents can go to the Board of Assessment Appeals, district court or binding arbitration.

Petitioners will find instructions to appeal to a higher level on the decision notice from the County Board of Equalization, Chapin said.

“Even some people who got their property value adjusted, will continue the appeal process because they disagree with the adjustment,” Chapin said.

Lower values may not mean lower taxes

Veronica Whitney

When James King first received his reappraisal notice in May, it said his house in Avon was valued at $723,580. King, however, succeeded with his appeal to the Eagle County Assessor’s Office, which adjusted the value to $609,320.

But the fact that King – or other property owners who follow him in winning appeals – got his property value adjusted doesn’t mean that his taxes will go down next year, said Mark Chapin, deputy assessor for Eagle County.

“Property taxes on adjusted property could be impacted up or down depending upon the budgetary needs of the various taxing entities throughout the county,” Chapin said.

Ken Marchetti, an Edwards accountant and metropolitan district administrator, said he doesn’t believe taxes will go up a lot next year.

“There are restrictions that taxes can’t be raised for operational purposes without voter approval,” he said.

The reassessment of properties, done every other year, sets new property values that will be used to calculate, in this case, 2004 property taxes.

The county’s taxing entities establish property tax rates calculated against property values to determine tax bills.

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


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