Vail Daily’s View: Can’t pretend it’s still 2007’s real estate market
Vail, CO, Colorado
Our homes and properties in the Vail Valley are worth just as much or more than they were two years ago, at the peak of the real estate boom?
That’s the message from Eagle County, which is sending out property value notices on Friday.
On paper, then, Eagle County’s real estate bubble has not burst for tax purposes.
The explanation is that the latest county reassessment takes the real estate sales activity from Jan. 1, 2007, through June 30, 2008.
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That was before the nation’s real estate reality struck the Vail Valley. The steep slide began for us in September. What a painful ride since then for most of us.
So because of some bureaucratic rules, property owners face boom-time taxes in the heart of an historic recession.
You might recall that the Eagle County commissioners and the myriad other taxing entities kept their 40 percent increase in our property tax bills that the previous property reassessment delivered.
Their argument basically boiled down to their view that the amount is low enough that it shouldn’t matter to much if they kept it instead of figuring a means of refunding a fair portion.
Now that the economy has put many out of work, made the bills much harder to keep up with, including the mortgage, will this be the same answer?
Government is hurting, too. Sales tax and other major revenue sources are down, after all. So even a small source of income is crucial.
Even so, a property valuation at 2007 levels for 2009 does not square with real life. It’s simply not right to tax hard-pressed property owners in recession the same as during the peak of the bubble.
There must be a fairer solution than a second windfall for the government.
We urge the commissioners and trustees and board members of the respective local governments to find a way to take the edge off this tax during these terribly difficult times for their constituents.
True leadership is figuring out and acting on what truly is fair under these circumstances. Pretending this is 2007 would do the ostrich proud, but we should be able to expect more as a community from our leaders.
Vail Daily Editorial Board