Your property taxes are going up |

Your property taxes are going up

Melanie Wong
Vail CO, Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, COLORADO ” Homeowners, it’s time to pay up.

Assessed property values in Eagle County have gone up an average of 40 percent in the past two years, meaning many residents will be seeing a bigger tax bill next year.

For the past several years, home values have gone up, but the assessed values, or the tax values, have not.

Until this year. Most local taxing entities ” your towns, your recreation districts and water districts, for example ” are exempt from the state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights Amendment, better known as TABOR. They do not have to lower their property tax rates to compensate for the increased home values.

A statewide freeze on school district mill levies means the Eagle County School District’s property tax rate will stay the same this year. The Eagle County commissioners are not planning to lower the county’s property tax rate, either. That leaves the special districts, such as metro districts and recreation districts, and the towns to announce their decisions.

Taxes for the town of Avon, Vail and Minturn, which get the smallest portion of the property tax pie, will stay the same, officials said.

Some residents will see lowered mill levies from their special districts, while others will see their rates stay the same. However, everyone will be seeing increased property taxes overall. Even with lowered rates, most districts will still be benefiting from the increase in property values.

“A lot of our districts will be lowering their mill levies,” said Ken Marchetti, accountant for the Edwards area metro districts. “Assessed value went up so much that they didn’t need all the increase. They’ll just keep the money necessary to cover that they need.”

Some metro boards say the extra revenue will help with basic operations, pointing to the increased cost of gas, labor and utilities. Others, like Eagle-Vail, will use the money to re-model and improve older facilities.

Here is a look at what a few area metro districts are doing and what residents can expect for next year.

Berry Creek Metro District

Where: Singletree

The Bill: The district will be lowering their current tax rate of 15.746 mills by 1.25 mills to make up for increased property values, said Metro District President Don Cohen, but overall, property taxes will be increasing. It will bring in an additional $91,000 in revenue for the district.

What it will be used for:

The district just approved a tax increase for improvements in Singletree to widen sidewalks and add snow storage on Winslow Road. It was the first tax increase the district has had since its inception in 1979, Cohen said.

Where do your property tax dollars go?

44 percent goes to schools

13 percent goes to Eagle County

5 percent goes to your town

38 percent goes to special districts, such as your metro district or recreation districts

source: Eagle County Assessor’s Office

Arrowhead Metro District

Where: Arrowhead

The Bill: Arrowhead saw a 29 percent increase in assessed property values. As a result the district will be lowering their tax rate of 20 mills to 17 mills. That will still result in an additional $168,275 of taxes collected.

What it will be used for: Arrowhead’s funds will go toward road resurfacing and the neighborhood’s shuttles to Beaver Creek, said Board President Bill Maxwell.

As part of the district’s road improvement project, a portion of road is resurfaced each year. Costs have gone up because of more expensive materials and gas prices, Maxwell said.

Also, the district has three buses that run to Bachelor Gulch and Beaver Creek. Those services will be expanded, with more shuttle runs and maybe another bus.

“More and more Arrowhead residents are using it and need to be picked up to the ski lifts,” Maxwell said.

Western Eagle County Metro Recreation District

Where: This district, which covers Edwards to Glenwood Canyon, operates the sports fields in Edwards, Freedom Park, the Eagle pool and ice rink and the Gypsum Recreation Center.

The bill: The district will not lower it’s 3.65 mill levy, bringing in nearly $700,000 in property taxes.

What it will be used for: The money will be used to buy employee housing, pay a new fitness coordinator at the Gypsum Rec Center, make improvements to the pool and ice rink in Eagle, and cover a general increase in utilities and maintenance, said District Administrator Steve Russell.

Any extra will give the district the option of activating some of their bonds, which would free up money for projects, such as a field house in Edwards, he said.

“With rec districts, all the money goes into programs, equipment and facilities,” Russell said. “If there’s extra money, we’ll make new programs.”

Bellyache Ridge Metro District

Where: Bellyache Ridge

The bill: The area saw a 35-38 percent increase in assessed property values. The district will not be lowering their tax rate of 22.5 mills, bringing in about $40,000 of additional revenue.

On average that will mean about a $600 increase in property taxes per home, said board president Fred Rupp.

What it will be used for: The $40,000 in extra taxes will help pay for more than $300,000 in improvements to the area’s water system. The 60 or so homes on Bellyache Ridge currently uses a well system that will be depleted in the future and does not have enough water to handle emergencies, Rupp said.

“There would be a real problem if any home had a fire,” he said.

A new, deeper well was built in 2007 and a water storage tank that has triple the capacity of the current tank will be built in 2008.

After the projects are finished, the district may look at lowering the levy in the next few years, Rupp said.

Edwards Metro District

Where: Homestead, Miller Ranch, Edwards business district, Brett Ranch

The bill: The district will not lower their mill levy of 1.691 mills, bringing in nearly $70,000 in additional property taxes.

What it will be used for: Traffic in Edwards is a problem, said board president Bill Simmons, so the district will use the money to do engineering studies at the main Edwards intersection.

The metro district has contributed to traffic studies in the past, even though the roads are under Colorado Department of Transportation authority. Edwards, along with several other Edwards-area metro districts, helped fund studies for the I-70 interchange project, which will build four new roundabouts near the Edwards exit.

Vail Recreation District

Where: Vail

The Bill: The district’s 2.76 mill levy will stay the same, bringing in an extra $800,000, said John Monson, marketing director for the town of Vail.

What it will be used for: “The Vail Rec District is facing issues with aging and antiquated facilities,” Monson said.

On the list for repairs and improvements are: sewer and security repairs at the Vail Golf Club clubhouse, a better irrigation system for the golf course and roof repairs at the Dobson Ice Arena.

Also, many of the district’s buildings are not in compliance with the American Disabilities Act, so the district will tackle that this year, Monson said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or

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