Property values go up in most of county |

Property values go up in most of county

SUMMIT COUNTY – Reappraisal notices from the Summit County assessor’s office will hit the mail Thursday, and for most people, the news won’t be pleasant.

Property values are up in almost every area of the county, and those will translate into higher tax bills.

The county’s taxing entities establish mill levies, which are calculated against property values to determine tax bills. The higher a property is valued, the more a property owner pays in taxes.

“It hits everybody where it matters most, and that’s in their pocketbooks,” said county assessor Denise Steiskal.

While the local real estate market has faltered to an almost flat level in the past year or more, the reappraisals were conducted before the economy slowed. The values reflected in this week’s statements were determined in the 18 months before June 30, 2002. That period goes back to early Jan. 1, 2001, well before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when times were significantly better.

“This is not reflective of any of the market conditions that would have occurred after June 30, 2002,” Steiskal said. “The general feeling is that market values are stabilizing or declining. This reappraisal just is not showing that.”

Because market conditions during the appraisal period were so much better than they are now, Steiskal expects property owners will be startled by the numbers they see in their notices.

Fortunately, the number figured against residential property values to determine taxes has dropped, from 9.15 percent to 8.04 percent of the appraised value. That is a decrease of about 12 percent.

Commercial property owners will feel the hit, however. The Gallagher Amendment to the state constitution mandates commercial property be taxed at a consistent 29 percent of appraised value. The amendment also states commercial property pay 55 percent of property taxes and residential 45 percent.

Because of those mandates, the residential property multiplier keeps falling to compensate for rising property values and more development. The state Legislature is trying to figure out how to address this issue.

The reappraisal notices also will contain an estimate of taxes for each piece of property.

“So, if a home’s value did not increase by more than 12 percent, those owners will probably see equal to or a slight decrease in property taxes,” Steiskal said.

Nevertheless, she anticipates a flood of calls to her office.

A similar situation occurred in 1987, she said, when the market dipped dramatically.

“People were coming to the table with money in order to get out of their units,” Steiskal said. “It was a real recession.”

But appraisal notices didn’t show that. Those values were based on sales in 1983 and 1984, when times were good.

The disparity this time around isn’t as dramatic, Steiskal said, but it’s still bound to alarm many property owners.

The areas that saw the most dramatic increases in property values are:

n Vacant land in Frisco and Copper Mountain – both areas in which undeveloped land is scarce;

n Single-family homes and townhomes in Frisco and Keystone; and

n Commercial property in Frisco, Silverthorne, Dillon and the Upper Blue Basin.

The reappraised value of condominiums in Copper Mountain actually fell, and in Keystone, condominium values increased by only about 2 percent.

“Our nonresort areas experienced a greater increase in property values than our resort areas,” Steiskal said. “A lot of that has to do with the building boom that was happening predominately in Copper and Keystone, and there being more units on the market than buyers.”

“Another thing we’ve noticed is that our average-priced homes were accelerating at a greater rate than the “very goods’ and “excellents.’ The upper-quality homes were just holding their own.”

Steiskal encouraged property owners to protest property values during the statutory period of May through June 2.

“To protest after they receive their tax notice in January is a very costly and time-consuming process,” she said.

To Protest Reappraisals:

– The appeal period is from May 1 through June 2.

– All appeals must be made in writing and will not be taken over the phone.

– Appeals may be sent to the assessor’s office via e-mail at, fax at 453-3481, or mailed to P.O. Box 276, Breckenridge, 80424.

– To make an appointment to speak with the assessor about a notice, call 453-3480.

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