Neilson: Most property values up in county

Rio Blanco County property owners will receive a Notice of Valuation (NOV) around May 1 from the county assessor’s office. It is important to remember that the Notice of Valuation is not a tax bill but a notice informing property owners of any changes in valuation of their property during the reappraisal year. The Notice of Valuation property owners receive in May will be based on property sales within Rio Blanco County for an 18-month period, Jan. 1, 2007, through June 30, 2008. By Colorado law, assessors must use this time frame for appraisals during this reappraisal period.
Due to the current economic downturn, property owners may be expecting to see the value of their property decrease. However, in most cases, property values in Rio Blanco County have increased. During the 18-month appraisal period, Rio Blanco County experienced an increase in population and property sales were at an all time high.
If you have an increase in your property valuation, it does not mean your taxes will increase by the same amount. Mill levies determine the amount of your taxes. In December of each year, taxing districts submit their request to the Board of County Commissioners for the mill levy amount needed to provide services to the public in the upcoming year. Rio Blanco County’s mill levies are some of the lowest in the state. Refer to the spreadsheet with this article demonstrating the estimated tax for a home with an actual value of $200,000 and an assessed value of $15,920 using the 2008 average mill levy for each county in Colorado. Rio Blanco County’s high assessed values for the various taxing districts allow the mill levies to be some of the lowest in the state. Property owners in Rio Blanco County are fortunate that a considerable amount of our value comes from the oil and gas industry. Eighty percent of the county’s value in 2008 came from oil and gas and other industrial properties.
To calculate taxes on residential property, take the actual value for the current year as shown on your Notice of Valuation and multiply it by 7.96 percent (Colorado’s residential assessment rate) to obtain the assessed value. The assessed value is then multiplied by the mill levy from the tax area where your property is located. If you own commercial or other property types, the assessment rate is 29 percent.
Important facts to remember: By Colorado law, the time frame for sales used this reappraisal year, to set values was Jan. 1, 2007, through June 30, 2008. Next year (2010) is an intervening year in Colorado. Values will remain the same if there are no unusual conditions such as new construction, change in use, demolished property, to name a few. If sale prices start to decrease, it will be reflected in the next reappraisal year of 2011.
The time to question the value of your property is during protest time in May. Please do not wait until you receive a tax bill from the county treasurer. During protest time, appointments can be made to discuss your valuation with the assessor or property appraisers.
It is not the duty of the assessor to generate revenue for the county. The duties are to list, classify, and value property within the boundaries of Rio Blanco County in a fair and equitable manner.
If you own property in our county, and you do not receive a Notice of Valuation around May 1, 2009, please call (970) 878-9410 or stop by the assessor’s office in the courthouse. Do not hesitate to call with your Notice of Valuation questions or other concerns.
Renae T. Neilson
Rio Blanco County assessor