Summit County home owners may see tax spike
SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado Property owners in Summit County, Colorado could be in for a shock this spring when local officials start sending out valuation notices.Theres no going down, said county assessor Beverly Breakstone, explaining how property taxes will likely increase this year the formula for calculating such based on real-estate sales between Jan. 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008.Those dates are set by state law, and the assessors office compiles data from all the property transactions during that period to set tax assessments. Breakstone said there were 2,627 residential sales in the 18-month period, with prices ranging from $80,000 to $5.5 million.In some cases, taxes on high-end homes could jump as much as 33 percent, Breakstone said, singling out the Three Peaks neighborhood in Silverthorne as an example of an area where sales went nuts during that span.While the real-estate market in some parts of the country has collapsed during the past six months, that is not the case in Summit County or other West Slope resort areas, and especially not for the 18-month period used for the current round of valuations.The major decline in property values in some parts of the county during the past six months doesnt affect this round of valuations, said County Commissioner Bob French.Disputes likelySince the cut-off date last summer, the volume of sales in the local area have plummeted, but prices have not.As a result, Breakstone is anticipating a lineup of property owners who will try to dispute the valuations, especially second-homeowners from places where property values have decreased a great deal recently.About 67 percent of our owners are out of the area, and half of those are out of state, Breakstone said. We have significant numbers of owners from Florida and other states, where property values have fallen 30 to 40 percent, and they will simply experience shock the first week of May when they open the notice.The good news is that the county has added several significant new commercial properties to its tax rolls, and that could help spread out the tax burden, Breakstone said. As examples, she listed the new Camp Woodward at Copper sports facility, the Walgreens in Dillon and the new Breckenridge Building Supply Center.Property taxes comprise about 29 percent of the countys total budget. Breakstone said her office is looking at about $1.6 billion in total assessed value, with 22 percent ($18.125 million) going to the county, 43 percent ($35.3 million to the Summit School District, 8 percent ($6.3 million) to Colorado Mountain College, 5 percent to towns ($4.2 million, excluding home-rule Silverthorne) and 22 percent ($8.1 million) to various special fire, water and sanitation districts.That adds about $82 million in actual tax revenue, Breakstone said, explaining that the final breakdown in the mill levies depends on the actual budgets of the various entities, who cant collect more revenue than they budgeted for expenses.Property valuations will be mailed out May 1, and owners have until May 30 to file an appeal.Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 331-5996, or at email@example.com.