The Eagle Ranch Metro District hikes its mill levy
EAGLE, Colorado – Eagle Ranch homeowners who hoped to see a big drop in property taxes for 2012 are going to be disappointed.
Last week, the Eagle Ranch Metropolitan District certified a 38 mill levy for the coming year, up from 28.7 mills in 2011. The reason why is the 33 percent drop in assessed valuation the area has seen since the last valuation period two years ago.
In 2011, the Eagle Ranch Metro District’s assessed valuation was more than $79 million. With this year’s reassessment, the total has dropped to $52 million. Last year, the 28.7 mill levy brought in nearly $2.3 million in property tax revenue. Next year’s 38 mills will bring in an estimated $2 million.
Kent Rose, member of the Eagle Ranch Metro District Board of Directors, said that debt payments and expenses for the metro district required the mill levy increase. He said that the actual dollars needed to meet financial obligations have not plummeted like assessed values have. As a result, the district had to increase the mill levy to keep revenues at the same level so it could meet its financial obligations.
“You can’t default on your bonds,” Rose said. “It is our intention, as the assessed valuation creeps back up, that we can cut back the mill levies in the future.”
But even with the large mill levy increase, Eagle Ranch property tax owners will likely see a small decrease in the actual dollars they pay next year.
“Our debt requires an automatic increase in the mill levy to bring in revenues sufficient to fund the annual payments,” said Eric Weaver, certified public accountant and vice president of Robertson and Marchetti. The Eagle Ranch Metro Board employs the firm to develop the special district’s annual budget.
“Luckily, the mill levy did not have to increase by the same ratio as the decline in assessed values. By refinancing bonds and paying off equipment leases in 2011, the district was able to reduce expenses,” Weaver said.
He predicted that, even with the mill levy increase, the average Eagle Ranch property taxpayer will pay 12 percent less to the district than he or she paid in 2011.