Oops – Slight error on county tax bills | AspenTimes.com

Oops – Slight error on county tax bills

Jeremy Heiman


Pitkin County property tax bills, which should be in taxpayers’ hands this week, contain a minor error.

No, the problem is not with the bottom line. You still have to pay the amount due.

In error is a statement noting how state funding assistance to local schools has reduced taxes for local taxpayers.

The statement follows the listing of the school district levy for the year, which is presently 10.233 mils. It reads, “Without state legislative funding, your levy would have been 10.233.”

Before you’re moved to mutter “gee, thanks,” you should know that the state has actually helped reduce school taxes, despite the wording on the bill.

Tom Oken, county administrative services director, said the mil levy noted on the bill is accurate, but the mil levy would have been 10.85 mils without the state funding the Aspen School District received this year – a difference of well under one mil.

Apparently no one in the county’s administrative offices remembered to change the statement. Oken said the error might have occurred because the school district has not received state funding in recent years. He said state officials look at the wealth of a community and its ability to support its own school system, and only gives major funding to school districts that are less wealthy.

“For as long as I can remember, the school district hasn’t gotten any money from the state,” Oken said. Aspen School District Finance Director Joe Tarbet agrees.

“This is probably the first year we got significant money from the state,” Tarbet said. He said the district received $621,756 this year.

Tarbet said the state funding comes directly to the school district and is not handled by the county. He confirmed that the mil levy is correct at 10.233. What’s incorrect is the explanation.

State law requires counties to print what the mil levy would have been without state assistance to school districts, according to Oken.

“The reason that’s on there,” he said, “is so the state can claim some credit for pumping some funds into local schools.”

Oken noted that a similar statement relating to the Roaring Fork School District is correct on Pitkin County tax bills. It indicates the Roaring Fork District mil levy, 43.622, would have been 57.346 mils without state funding.

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