It’s about time | AspenTimes.com

It’s about time

Dear Editor:

Finally! One of our representatives elected to protect us from over-reaching government has decided to stop the absurd overvaluations. Hail to the county commissioners! Hail George Newman!

I had lost all faith after participating in a Board of Equalization hearing. The young assessor was trying to compare celebrity Paula Zaun’s David Eastin-designed home against our 1968 bungalow. The time was so short, the “hired” hearing officer couldn’t even ask clarifying questions. We left horrified.

The appraisal industry’s comp method fueled the real estate bubble and now is fueling an overvaluation locally that is eroding taxpayer trust. Even during the height of the bubble, only 7 to 8 percent of all properties were in play. So the 90 percent of homeowners who have no intention of “flipping” were hit with doubled tax valuations because county appraisers aren’t factoring common sense or trends. But the assessor could.

The bubble fizzed early in 2007. The numbers show a peak in April, going flat that summer. But the assessor’s numbers show values increasing 30-50 percent between June 2006 and 2008. As the Board of Equalization, it is the duty of the county commissioners to learn more and question the assessor’s conclusions when merited. Our governmental systems recognize no one is infallible, and the commissioners are the second line of defense to prevent the tax injustice this county is experiencing.

Commissioner Hatfield, you think numbers, look at them. Commissioner Richards, it’s not personal. In this case it is your job to question. And to all of you – in my day, as a commissioner at half the pay, I might add – the commissioners spent the summer serving personally as the Board of Equalization and adjusting valuations, case by case.

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Thanks for stepping in.

Shellie Roy

Aspen

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