Letter to the Editor: Assessor responds to mill levy questions

Dear Editor:
This is an open letter to our county’s taxpayers.
I am writing this letter to the editor to answer questions concerning the RE-1 Meeker School District mill levy ballot question, 3A. Below are some questions that have been brought to our attention:

Q: How much will the mill levy increase my taxes?
A: This is an unknown number because we do not know what mill levy increase the RE-1 Meeker School District will be asking for and we do not know what the other taxing districts’ mill levies will be. Mill levies are certified by all tax districts to the Rio Blanco County Board of Commissioners, which approves the levies by Dec. 20
Q: Is it true that the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Park District has paid off its bond, which will offset the increase in the RE-1 School District’s mill levy override? Is it also true that I will not see an increase in taxes?
A: This will not be true for property owners of more than 40 acres as they currently do not pay into the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Park District. If all mill levies remain the same, except for the recreation district lowering its mill levy and the school increasing the mill levy, owners of more than 40 acres will see an increase.
Q: Why can’t you tell me right now what my tax amount will be?
A: By Colorado law (CRS 39-1-111(5)), we recertify the value to the taxing districts by Dec. 10. The commissioners approve levies by Dec. 20 (39-1-111(1)(2)). We can give an estimated tax amount using the current mill levy and an estimated increase in mill levy for the RE-1 school district.
Q: Do I understand correctly that once the school receives this mill levy override that my taxes will not change?
A: There is no formula that says this will happen. In order for the amount of money a tax district requests to remain the same the mill levy increases or decreases depending on the taxable value.
Q: Why do I pay a higher tax for our business than our home?
A: CRS 39-1-104(1) states the valuation for assessment for all taxable property shall be 29 percent of the actual value, excluding residential real property, producing mines and oil and gas leaseholds. Residential property is currently valued at 7.96 percent of the actual value.
Overall, the county’s valuation is currently down 4 percent from last year. Specifically, RE-1 school district value is down 7.4 percent.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office at 970-878-9410.
Renae T. Neilson
Rio Blanco County Assessor
Meeker