Higher property tax bills coming in Eagle County | AspenTimes.com

Higher property tax bills coming in Eagle County

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. – Eagle County property tax bills will hit the mail soon, and many of those bills will be bigger than last year.

Due to delays built into state law, county property owners will be paying their 2009 taxes this year based on a “snapshot” of property values taken June 30, 2008, before the local real estate market nose-dived with the world financial crisis in the fall of that year.

What that means is despite the current slump in the local real estate market, county taxpayers will pay taxes on property values calculated when the market was still humming. And that means higher tax bills for most county property owners.

Looking at the total collections on taxes payable in 2010, county property owners will owe more than $205 million, nearly $18 million more than last year.

The increase comes from many local taxing districts doing nothing – keeping their tax rates for 2009 at 2008 levels. Of the county’s biggest taxing districts, Eagle County, Colorado Mountain College and the towns of Gypsum and Minturn all kept their tax rates even with the previous year.

The local school districts – there are three in the county – all dropped their rates slightly, as did the towns of Avon, Basalt, Eagle, Red Cliff and Vail. In all, 31 of the county’s 80 various governments and special districts dropped their tax rates. One, the Confluence Metropolitan District, dropped its rate to zero for 2009.

Only three special districts – including Eagle-Vail – raised their property tax rates. In the Roaring Fork Valley, voters approved a tax hike for the Crown Mountain Recreation District.

Eagle County treasurer Karen Sheaffer said bills for 2009’s taxes will go out some time in the next week to 10 days, and said that just about any taxpayer in North America should have that bill by the end of the month.

“If you don’t get a bill, just call and we’ll send you a new one,” Sheaffer said.

Despite last year’s economic downturn, Sheaffer said the county collected 99.9 percent of all the taxes owed. However, the county collected those taxes through the biggest delinquent tax sale in recent memory. Investors bought 702 delinquent tax certificates in the sale last fall, compared to 186 the year before.

“You never know how it’s going to shake out,” Sheaffer said. “The payments just didn’t come in last year.”


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