Property taxes rising


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For more information about escalating property taxes in Routt County, see the Real Estate section in Sunday's Steamboat Pilot & Today.

— Have a seat. Your property tax bill is in the mail, and you're apt to notice a change - upward.

Routt County Treasurer Jeanne Whiddon confirmed that she sent half of the county's property tax notices Thursday, and the rest will go into the mail today. For many local property owners, the tax notices will contain unwelcome news.

"In most cases, property owners will experience a significant increase in their 2007 tax bill when compared to prior years," Routt County Assessor Mike Kerrigan said Thursday.

It is difficult to generalize about how much of a tax increase different property owners will see, Kerrigan said. That's because the amount of the increase varies with the type and location of the property.

However, Whiddon said the tax bill on her home on Pine Street in Old Town Steamboat Springs went up 29 percent, to more than $2,000 annually.

The magnitude of the hit will vary for residential property owners in Yampa and Stagecoach, for example. And commercial property owners are apt to see bigger jumps than residential property owners.

Kerrigan said several factors have come together to result in the property tax increase. One of them is the unprecedented increase in real estate values in the county during the past several years.

"In 2007, all properties were reappraised to reflect market values as of June 30, 2006, while 2005 and 2006 property taxes were based on market values as of June 30, 2004," Kerrigan said. "In that two-year period, the assessed value in Routt County increased approximately 35 percent."

Kerrigan said Colorado's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, adopted in 1992, affords property owners some protection from tax bills escalating with real estate values - but that doesn't mean individual property owners won't feel some pain.

Kerrigan acknowledged that TABOR requires taxing entities to reduce their mill levies, so that revenues will remain relatively constant unless voters approve additional mill levy increases.

However, TABOR does allow governments to adjust levies for inflation and new construction. During Routt County's 2007 budget process, the Denver/Boulder Consumer Price Index allowed a 2.75 percent increase in mill levies and new construction allowed another 3.25 percent, Kerrigan said.

Ballot impact

Local voters have approved several new property taxes in recent years.

In 2006, voters approved two property tax increases for the Steamboat Springs School District that were expected to add about $100 to the tax bill of someone owning a $450,000 home.

In November 2005, voters approved tax measures for the Bud Werner Memorial Library expansion, the Purchase of Development Rights Program and Horizons Specialized Services.

In aggregate, they were expected to add about $180 to the tax bill for a $600,000 house.

Kerrigan's figures show that the 1.5 mills of property taxes for the Purchase of Development rights will generate $1.62 million in revenues this year. The 1 mill for Horizons will generate $1.08 million. Three-tenths of a mill devoted to museums in the county will generate $324,131. Those three special taxes are not constrained by TABOR and chalked up a 34 percent increase in taxes, according to Kerrigan.


bigdog 9 years, 3 months ago

Get ready for lots-o-bellyaching from the socialist set who want the government to pay for everything (housing, rec center, day care).
"What do you mean my property taxes are going up? Shouldn't we be taxing someone else for these programs (ie. 2nd home owners, businesses, ranchers)?"

You are getting what you have asked for, albeit some from increased property values because of FREE MARKET forces.....


letomayo 9 years, 3 months ago

Does your comment mean capitolists won't be upset with the tax increase but just socialists?


flower 9 years, 3 months ago

Dukebets-you obviously don't want to "live" here.
What happens to the pepple who live here and are not just looking to cash out?


middleclass 9 years, 3 months ago

Ouch - I just visited the routt cnty website and saw that our property taxes doubled. Here's one middle class business owner that will be seriously considering leaving this community. Congrats Routt Cnty! For sending another small business owner packing!


thecondoguy1 9 years, 3 months ago

I believe the antithesis of liberal is conservative, not capitolist, I believe a capitalist, is one who practices business and investment in a private, personal decision making, competitive, relatively free, business model. we may be able to thank affordable housing for these increases, quite possibly some of this valuation growth allocated to the community is the cost to produce and deliver "affordable housing". you bet some people are going to hit the roof when they see what all this costs them personally, nobody rides for free, even in Steamboat...........


housepoor 9 years, 3 months ago

My guess is that when most people voted to approve these new taxing entities they didn't take into consideration that they had to limit to the amount of $$ they can take in or how long they will last. Unlike the County, these agencies budgets will increase in step with property values and in Steamboat that is significant.


justathought 9 years, 3 months ago

Now that's the way bipartisan government can agree on how to boost the economy. Everyone gets taxed enough that the feds can give those they feel are deserving a few dollars back so the local governments can take it away. We are now boosting the spending ability of smaller governments, shall we begin celebrating now?


Newcomer 9 years, 3 months ago

This should not come as a surprise to anyone the adjusted property values were sent a long time ago.


Steamboatguy 9 years, 3 months ago

What gets me is that an owner of a vacant 1.5 million dollar 35 Acre parcel in Lake Catamount pays 236.00 in taxes because it is zoned Agriculture. I have a feeling that not to much ranching is going on there.


Dukebets 9 years, 3 months ago

How many of you grumblers have obtained HELOC's and tapped into that equity? My guess is 50-75% of all homeowners' have some sort of equity line. They qualified based on appreciated values of their home. If you want the appreciated values, you will be taxed accordingly. That's nothing new.

I bought my last 2 vehicles with a home equity line of credit. 6.5%, interest only for 10 years. That's because my property has doubled in the appraised value over the last 5 years. I love it and am more than happy to pay the increased taxes. When I sell, I'll laugh all the way to the Bank!


addlip2U 9 years, 3 months ago

Well Dukebets, Some of us are here for the "duration". Not to make a quick buck and get out.
But inevitably since we are on fixed pension/income that is what will drive us away. This is reality and one day you may face it too...when you become of the mature age:)


jjkkll 9 years, 3 months ago

If you own property in a resort that has shifted from primarily ranching to primarily second home will see that shift in your property value/taxes. DUH!!!

Those of you that are here for the "duration" and are of mature age (as myself)....must have started out here and have seen the shift I refer to. My husband's grand father, father and now himself were all born and raised here. We own property...agricultural. It's not a huge parcel, but we do hay it each year. Lucky for us, we get the tax break for doing so. Have you checked into the Senior Exemption or any other programs?

We (especially my husband's family) have seen Stbt grow. We aren't particularly happy with all the developers coming in and taking over....but we aren't surprised. Living near a world class resort will eventually become developed...overcome by the weathly and increase the property values (and taxes).

It is what it is..... If you want the small need to move to a small town....preferrably not near a world class resort.

Can you offer up a suggestion on how our State should change? Or do you just want to whine? I understand your whine, but to be productive....we all need to "think" and try to make a change.

The property values are determined from actual sales that have occurred in our county...including sales of properties formerly owned by the ol' timers that have been here for 100 years. The ol' timers aren't selling their land for pennies....they too are asking...and receiving millions for their property....thus increasing the market value. The rest of the nation may see a decline, but the Routt County real estate is still hanging in there. Maybe not as aggressive as it has been, but it's definitely not in a declining market.


Watcher 9 years, 3 months ago

Last year the Governor Ritter froze mill levies for school property taxes in effect raising our taxes. ( Due to increased valuations.) Before that, there was a limit to how much the money mill levy could raise. This in effect was an end run around the Colorado's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights which affords property owners some protection from tax bills escalating with real estate values. This is what the democrats at the capital wanted. I keep waiting to see if it gets challenged in the courts but so far I have not seen anything. Anyone else out there in blog land know about this?? Areas that see an increase in valuation will really feel the impact of this as our wealth (lol) is redistributed.


armchairqb 9 years, 3 months ago

bought property here 21 yrs ago, moved here 6 1/2 years ago. My kids went to school here, thought I'd retire here....but alas all that has now changed. Seems that Steamboat wants to be Vail or Aspen. The real people that this will hurt will be our children, because the teachers will leave again & again. Their will be even MORE turnover. What a shame. Wait till they bulldoze Ski Time Square & put in million $$ condos that the rich will live in 2 weeks out of the year. They won't want (or need) to rent their condos out, so no one will buy t-shirts, dine out or spend any $$ in Steamboat. No revenue, no taxes, no money coming in & no money to use for anything to help out the Steamboat community. Just wait....Steamboat is gonna shoot themselves in the foot.


Scott Wedel 9 years, 3 months ago

The agricultural exemption here in Colorado is a disgrace that is all too often allowing the very richest to pay the very least in taxes.

And that it continues goes to show the power the very rich have over the system because whenever there is any proposal to change it then the very rich pay for lobbyists to claim the proposal will put farmers and ranchers out of business as if it is impossible to tell the difference between Farmer Joe and his modest home on hundreds of acres and Richie Rich with his mansion on less than 50 acres.


flower 9 years, 3 months ago

Oh that is a funny typo. 'Pepple' = people (locals)


Dukebets 9 years, 3 months ago

Hey pt22 - Have you ever borrowed money? Doesn't sound like it. Because 6.5% for 10 years is the best deal you'll find on a revolving line of credit.

And flower - I actually do want to live here and that's why I purchased Real Estate here. I also like to make $$$$$$$$ and that's another reason why I purchased real estate here.

Paying taxes typically means you're making money..........Bring on the taxes because I love to make money!


Matthew Stoddard 9 years, 3 months ago

Our taxes went down $70 without valuation going down! LOL!


Dukebets 9 years, 2 months ago

pt22 - You are either extremely wealthy and never had to borrow money or just to intellectually deficient to understand the cost of money. My guess is the latter as most wealthy individuals understand that there is a cost of money.

So, me using a home equity line to fund construction projects at 6.5% is foolish? Construction loans are typically priced at 2 points over Prime which translates into 8.5%. Plus, there is an additional one-point fee and a 12-month maturity. Using your financial wizardy, I would piss away $3,000 for every $100,000 I borrow on an annual basis.

Here's another example..........Remember the 2 cars I mentioned purchasing. Typical consumer loans for vehicle purchases will be priced somewhere around 3 over Prime (9.5% today) with numerous hidden fees adding up to 2 to 3 percent of the purchase. My no-fee home equity line allowed me to purchase both vehicles ($32,000 Total) at 6.5%. On a 60-month term, the home equity line saves nearly $3,000 in just interest.

Keep arguing with me and we'll see who looks the fool.....


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