EC Assessor – Caution, no Panic

Mark Chapin (D) is our Elected Eagle County Assessor.  His office is legislatively tasked with the job of valuing your real property – for the purposes of receiving your Property Tax Bill that is mailed from the EC Treasurer (Karen Sheaffer’s (R)) office who is also Elected.

Some ECT folks caught up with Mark –  in his office last week for a chat about this years Property Tax bill and the condition of Property Values in the Eagle River and Gore Creek areas of Eagle County.

ECT’s Report:  Mark is very intelligent, highly informed and experienced Assessor.  He also has very well developed listening skills and a sense of humor – as anyone who has spoken to Mark knows…

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Topic – Property Values:  Most EC folks (not all) have seen some decrease in their Property Values (read: property taxes) since his office’s Valuation in June 2012.  These updated (somewhat lower) Residential/Commercial valuations are driven by Real Estate sales (real closings – not contracts) on said Property.

Mark was quite clear in stating that “in some housing markets there are not enough sales to constitute statistically significant trends in the market”.

English Translation:  not enough hard data to suggest real robust up/down trends in today’s (FEB 2014) Eagle County Real Estate market.  Compared to “the good old days 2005-2007) there are not very many real closings happening today (FEB2014)

Mark also noted the difference in how (robust?) our current/local Real Estate market is portrayed by those who sell “paid print advertising” for a living vs. those who study the same market sales and contracts – as part of their job.  Mark cautioned against any particular market generalizations – due to the fact we have multi-million dollar resort homes located within miles of more affordable homes in trailer parks…

What Property Market is selling the easiest with (in some cases) appreciation?

Answer:  (Generically) a two bedroom condo located reasonably close to Skiing, sold to a family/person whose primary residence is outside Eagle County.

What is (arguably) one of the most difficult Property Sales to make today (FEB2014)?

Answer:  (generally speaking)  A working Eagle County family selling their home/duplex/townhouse to another working Eagle County family.

Mark acknowledged local working families (example) gasoline/grocery/health insurance costs, today, were putting more financial pressure on working families likely at a rate faster than that families salary and benefits were increasing…Mark was aware that the highest Health Insurance premiums in the U.S. are paid right here in Eagle County (Click Here) with little attention being paid to this fact by politicians (seemingly more concerned?) with your access to Marijuana…

Mark and the ECT wondered how long can it be…before Mortgage Lenders seriously started to take into account the cost of Health Insurance to a local working family trying to qualify for a Mortgage on a new Eagle County home…

PART II – How our Assessor manages Health Care costs

On a personal note – Mark acknowledged some recent and personal back strain while working at his desk.

So Mark got himself measured.

Turns out after Mark got “jacked-up” personally (measured by a professional) in his office (his desk now raised – by some 2×4’s) he reported (along with his new chair) an improved level of daily back strain.

Good for you Mark – you no doubt saved the EC Taxpayer a bundle and ECT is glad to report this positive news to others.  For those concerned about what to get our Assessor for his Birthday this year – the ECT recommends a bicycle tire patch and pump for his front tire…

-CM

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