by Douglas H. Shulman
Eagle County’s (elected) Assessor Mark Chapin (D) stopped by the local GOP’s monthly meeting this past week, along with Eagle County Treasurer (elected) Karen Sheaffer (R) and former Eagle County Commissioner Johnnette Phillips to talk about our Property Tax Assessments – we all received last week.
Here is the ECT’s report. Photo…(L-R) Bob Foley, Mark Chapin, Kaye Ferry, John Rosenfeld
Mark’s Powerpoint presentation talked about process and the relationship of the Assessors/Treasurers offices. Mark pointed out that the Assessor’s Office is responsible for the numbers printed on your Property Tax valuation and that the Treasurer’s Office is responsible for the Invoicing and Collections of your annual residential and or commercial property tax bill.
Assessor Chapin’s pitch came across as very helpful – Mark pointed out that he’s elected, and that the folks in this room “are my bosses”. Mark doesn’t report to the County Commissioners, although the Commissioners control his Office’s Budget…
Mark went on to talk about the many different tools his staff uses to determine property valuations of both residential and commercial property his office values (per state statute) every two years.
Mark stated a “property tax protest – is your right” and encouraged all who felt their valuations are unfair – to file a protest with his office.
KEY POINT: Per State Statute – Mark’s most recent numbers are based on property values up to June 30th 2010 – any property values (appraisals) more recent than that – would NOT be considered for property valuations – in any protest filed with his office.
Mark admitted that he and the consensus of local real estate professionals he spoke to believe that (in general/over all) Eagle County property values are still declining – although not at the same rate (read: speed of decline) that they were over the last 18-24 months…
The Bad News – Mill Levy’s
Obviously, if your Property Tax Mill Levy doesn’t change it’s simple to calculate your next Property Tax bill (Spring 2012).
Mark reported that his office “isn’t in charge” of the (too many – Eagle County taxing authorities – that control the Mill Levy’s) printed on your bill.
Worse yet is the fact that the Assessors office “doesn’t Police” those Mill Levy numbers. Who does? Mark said Colorado’s “Division of Local Governments” – although after visiting that web site the ECT folks could find no specific numbers about any of Eagle County’s’ Mill Levy’s. No response yet from the emails the ECT sent DoLG.
No information on DoLG’s web site about which (any?) County Taxing Authorities have “de-bruced” indicating that Authority (may?) have the legal right to increase your Mill Levy “without a vote of the people”…as required by TABOR.
Mark said his office ‘just accepts’ the Mill Levy numbers given to his office from those County Taxing authorities. Mark admitted that his office makes a ‘cursory review’ of those numbers to make sure there is no gross increases from the previous Mill Levy…but there is no “policing’ of the Mill Levy numbers taking place in his office. Yikes!
When asked how does a reasonable taxpayer protect him/herself from a taxing authority that just increases their Mill Levy (because they want to?)…Mark didn’t have a good answer other than contact that taxing authority and the so called “Division of Local Governments”.
Mark chuckled when he and his Office was publically accused of being “the only part of Eagle County’s Government” – responsible for “actually creating new private sector jobs”.
For a list of those new Jobs being created in Eagle County today – you should contact –
– Woodland & Associates, LLC – W 376.4362 (Eagle) Handling Residential and Commercial Property Tax Protests
– Mauriello Planning Group W 376.3318 (Avon) Handling Residential Property Tax Protests
– EagleCountyTaxAppeal.Com – Roger Pack W 926.1131 (Edwards) Handling Residential Property Tax Protests
Your Property Tax Protest must be filed with the County’s Office of the Assessor – no later than Tuesday, May 31st 2011