Letter: Beaver Creek Metro District: County should oppose hotel assessment appeals
Dear Commissioners: We know that you are aware of the problem with hotel assessments and what we believe to be the inequity resulting from hotels within the county appealing the County Assessor’s Statement of Value based upon arguments related to the income approach allowed by state law.
We believe that the citizens of Eagle County, and the other local government entities that are affected by this inequity, are not aware of the problem. Accordingly, primarily for that audience, we recite our version of the issue further below.
The real estate value of hotel properties (as opposed to the business value) is a very complex topic. Residential properties in Colorado are required to be valued based on comparable real estate sales. However, commercial properties, including hotels, may use one of three valuation methods, which are comparable sales, replacement cost and/or the income approach.
In the past, there haven’t been local sales of hotel properties, so a heavy emphasis has been placed on the income approach, which is very subjective and can easily be manipulated. The recent sale of several hotels provides a unique opportunity for the Assessor to argue that these sales provide a more realistic value than the income approach.
The hotels have historically appealed the values set by the Assessor and intend to vigorously reject the Assessor’s valuation this time, as well. Many of these hotels have hired a nationwide firm that specializes in appealing tax values to argue their case at the appeals level.
While it will result in a substantial tax savings to the hotels to have their values reduced, a higher valuation would be beneficial to all taxing jurisdictions directly and/or to the taxpayers in those jurisdictions through lower taxes. We believe this is the year for the county to mount an aggressive defense of the Assessor’s hotel valuations.
The primary purpose of this communication is to request that the county make a special effort during this particular assessment cycle to attempt to mitigate what we see to be, over the next few years, a negative impact to all residents of Eagle County totaling many tens of millions of lost tax dollars. We believe the county should utilize every possible argument and resource to oppose the assessment appeals of hotels that have already begun.
James B. Fraser
Chairman, Beaver Creek Metropolitan District