Tax man comes calling, but many Eagle County homeowners have nothing to fear
Many property tax bills flat or even down in Roaring Fork Valley portion of county this year
Many homeowners in the Roaring Fork Valley portion of Eagle County will receive a pleasant surprise when they open their tax bill this week.
The mill levies for several taxing districts decreased slightly in 2020 from 2019. That will create a modest decrease in overall tax bills for many homeowners.
A check of property tax bills for homes in six neighborhoods of the midvalley by The Aspen Times showed tax bills for 2020 dropping by as much as $731.52 for a house in Riverside Drive in Basalt to $35.32 for a house in Blue Lake subdivision in the El Jebel area.
In a tough time when some people are facing reduced hours at work because of the coronavirus pandemic, the fact that property tax bills are flat is welcomed relief.
Eagle County Assessor Mark Chapin said the assessed valuations of properties stayed the same this year, so tax bills stayed similar to last year.
“We simply haven’t moved the ball between 2020 and 2019,” he said.
Reappraisals are required every other year, so property owners will learn of their new values in May. That will affect the property tax bills for 2021.
Since property wasn’t reappraised in 2020, total valuations only grew because of new construction. The total assess value of Eagle County increased to $3.84 billion from $3.825 billion. While the $13.5 million doesn’t sound like much, it meant many taxing district could raise roughly the same amount of revenue even with a slight dip in their mill levies. Many districts voluntarily decreased their mill levies slightly this year.
For example, the town of Basalt’s tax rate was reduced to 4.485 from 4.59 mills. The town’s property tax revenue from Eagle County residents dropped only slightly to $2.12 million from $2.16 million. (A portion of the town also is in Pitkin County.)
Eagle County’s general fund tax rate fell to 4.485 from 4.59 mills. Property tax revenue dipped to $15.89 million from 16.23 million.
The Roaring Fork School District adjusted its mill levy to 42.03 from 42.903. As a result, its revenue fell to $10.27 million from $10.42 million.
Basalt and Rural Fire District reduced its mill levy to 8.781 for 2020 from 8.981. It’s revenue fell to $2.12 million from $2.16 million.
Some taxing district increased their mill levies. Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District increased slightly — from 4.011 mills in 2019 to 4.032 for 2020. That increased revenue marginally to $965,768 from $954,933.
The Basalt Regional Library District increased from 5.882 to 5.942. Its revenus increased to $1.44 million from $1.41 million.
The actions by taxing district combined to result in a tax bill decrease for many homeowners.
The Aspen Times found that the tax bill for a house in Riverside Drive fell to $7,008.84 for 2020 compared with $7,740.36 the year before.
A homeowner’s tax bill on a house in Sopris Village subdivision fell to $2,942.80 from $2,970.08.
A home on River Oaks Lane saw its bill decrease to $6,242,72 from $6,304.88.
In Willits, the tax bill for a home dropped to $5,743.88 from $5,801.08.
A homeowner in Missouri Heights saw the property tax bill fall to $5,473.32 from $5,525.16.
In Blue Lake, a home’s bill fell to $3,808.80 from $3,844.12.
The property tax relief might be short-lived. A strong market in recent years will drive assessed values higher for residences, Chapin said. His staff is still researching commercial property values.
The reappraisals will be based on sales during an 18-month period that ended June 30. Despite the pandemic, residential sales were strong except for a brief period after most of the economy shut down in mid-March. Due to the lag time, the reappraisal won’t reflect the hottest period in the market.
“From mid-summer on, the market started to strengthen,” Chapin said. As has been widely documented, buyers from urban areas were seeking safe haven in the mountains.
Commercial property such as warehouses and storage remained strong despite the pandemic, Chapin said. Other commercial property was adversely affected when business dropped during the pandemic.
Eagle County Treasurer Teak Simonton sent out a notice Friday that tax bills have been mailed to property owners of record. Property owners who haven’t received a bill by the end of January should call the treasurer’s office at 970-328-8860 to verify their mailing address and request another copy of the bill, Simonton said.
Tax bills for the current and past years also can be found by going online to the search function on the treasurer’s website at https://propertytax.eaglecounty.us/PropertyTaxSearch/.
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