For most, Summit County property tax bills should be lower in 2011 |

For most, Summit County property tax bills should be lower in 2011

Homeowners in Summit County may see a decrease in property taxes this year thanks to the expiration of a school district mill levy.

Property taxes are dropping an average of 2.336 mills for all tax areas in Summit County, according to Assessor Beverly Breakstone.

The decrease translates to an estimated $100 reduction in taxes due for every $500,000 in property value.

Property tax bills follow two years behind property valuations, so the taxes due this year still reflect 2009 assessments, with some adjustments from 2010.

For most taxpayers in the county, the decrease is related to the expiration of a school mill levy, which reduced taxes by one mill.

In November, voters approved ballot measure 3B, implementing a new school mill levy, but the district was able to reduce costs enough that the new levy is only about a third of the expiring tax.

A significant decrease in taxes at Copper Mountain due to a density correction also brought down the county average, Breakstone said.

As a result of the adjustments and school mill levy decrease, the county will collect approximately $5 million less in property taxes this year than last. Collections will total approximately $94 million compared with over $99 million collected in 2010, Treasurer Bill Wallace said.

While many Summit County residents will see the reduction on their tax bills this year, Summit County Commissioners warned that the 2.3-mill decrease is only an average and won’t apply to everyone.

“An average does not guarantee every person a reduction,” Commissioner Thomas Davidson said at the Jan. 11 commissioners’ work session. “We do have pockets in this county where properties are still increasing in value.”

The assessor’s office is currently working on property valuations for 2011, which will be reflected on tax bills for 2012 and 2013. Notices of the new valuation will be sent out to taxpayers by May 1 of this year, Breakstone said.

Though the 2011 revaluation is not yet complete, preliminary numbers suggest Summit County will see an 18 percent drop in property values. Exactly how the lower values will affect county mills is still unclear.

The property tax decreases will impact income for all tax collecting entities, Breakstone said.

County officials made cuts to the 2011 budget to balance the loss in revenue resulting from lower property taxes this year and prepare for the next decrease in collections expected next year.

The county cut its 2011 operational budget by $635,000 from 2010 and reduced personnel costs by $1.35 million through 10 employee lay-offs and the elimination of empty positions in October.

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