Taxes too high in Vail Valley?
Vail, CO, Colorado
Most of us saw a significant increase in our property assessments in 2007 (42 percent on average). Rather than lower their mill levies as required by law, most tax districts froze them, sat back and enjoyed the huge windfall in tax revenues, all at the expense of all property owners. Commercial real estate was hit even harder.
This year, property valuations across Eagle County just increased again despite a down economy and a real estate market that’s swirling in the toilet. The median increase for residential real estate is 13 percent this year, with some properties increasing by 100 percent and more. This is because Colorado law requires county assessors to value real property based on the market values from last year, or, technically, the 18-month period ending June 30, 2008, before the economy tanked. Your property taxes are based on this valuation that’s performed every two years.
If all of your tax districts maintain the same mill levies as last year, your property tax bill absolutely will increase in January. So what can you do to lower your tax bill?
First, you can appeal your recent Notice of Real Property Valuation with the county Assessor’s Office. You have until Monday to file your appeal. For more information, see our May newsletter and our Web site, http://www.ECtaxpayer.org.
Second, you can get involved with your local tax districts. Attend their budget meetings, speak to them, join the boards, and work to convince these people that they must cut expenses, tighten their belts like the rest of us and simply reduce their spending! This shouldn’t be so difficult since these people are your friends and neighbors. They are living in the same economy and dealing with the same harsh realities, yet somehow many of them fail to empathize when they’re spending other people’s money. So give them a wake-up call.
The town of Avon just announced this week that due to reduced tax revenues, the town would be cutting its budget. Imagine that: a government
responding to economic pressures to operate within its means! Amazingly, 40 Eagle County tax districts manage to operate just fine under the fiscal restraints of TABOR. Now if only the 43 de-Bruced tax districts of Eagle County would take heed.
To determine which tax districts affect you, just refer to your annual Eagle County “love note” ” i.e., your property tax bill. Look at the top left corner for a list of all the tax districts that you support and the share of your pie that each receives. Contact them with your concerns. Ask them about the number of employees hired and the salaries and benefits (insurance, stipends, bonuses, perks, etc.) they provide with your money. These are fair questions, and you might find the answers stimulating. Please take notes, and let us know what you learn.
The Pissed Off Taxpayers of Eagle County (POTEC), formerly known as the Eagle County Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Buddy Shipley, Marshal Gordon, Dick Froberg, Mary Jo Froberg and our Steering Committee