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Teller County officials warn residents of large property tax increases

Posted at 12:09 AM, May 03, 2023

TELLER COUNTY — Property taxes have been a hot topic of discussion with the legislative session ending May 8th. On Monday, multiple county assessors in the Denver Metro area said recent changes will lead to a spike in property tax rates in 2023.

Property taxes were expected to increase across the state following the repeal of the Gallagher Amendment in 2020.

One southern Colorado county is continuing the call for action. On Monday, in a Twitter post, a letter from the Teller County Commissioners called on state legislators and Governor Polis to address the rising property taxes many Teller County residents would be seeing.

The letter addressed residents:

"Teller County property owners will receive their Notices of Valuation from the Teller County Assessor in the mail this week, and the numbers will be jarring for all of us. Residential valuations have spiked significantly, which will result in markedly higher property tax assessments in 2024 unless the local government takes action to enact temporary property tax relief. Your county commissioners have been aware of the impending valuation spike and its impact on our residents, especially those on fixed incomes and those that recently entered into home ownership for the first time."

The letter went on to call for the need for local authority over property taxes, citing a bill that newly-elected State Senator Mark Baisley had drafted with the input of the commissioners in the fall of 2022. Senate Bill 108 would allow local governments to provide temporary tax relief through temporary tax credits or through mill levy reductions and later eliminate the credits or restore the mill levy.

Carol Kittelson, a Teller County Assessor, said residential property values are up by 60-65% for Cripple Creek and Victor. Homes in Woodland Park and surrounding areas are seeing a 35-40% increase in value while rural areas in the county are experiencing a 43-48% hike.

Kittelson said the median vacant land value is increasing by 105-110% for Cripple Creek and 90-95% for Woodland Park.

"We [assessors] don't have any control over the taxes themselves. All we can do is provide the best values possible," said Kittelson. "When I send out our notices of value for here, I gave the worst case scenario and I think that's the only responsible thing to do."

The letter from the Teller County Commissioners came just hours before Governor Polis and State Legislators revealed their plan to cut property taxes across the state for the next decade. The last-minute proposal not introduced into legislature could be up to voters to decide in November.

The proposal would provide immediate tax savings for the homeowner and businesses, all while claiming to make sure schools, fire departments, and other public safety districts get funded. The bill would accomplish this potentially by taking some of the predicted revenue surpluses that the state would otherwise return under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR).

Opponents of the proposed bill call it a "half-baked" proposal.

"We’ve got a five-alarm fire in Colorado and our Governor showed up with a squirt gun. ... To summarize this bill: the Governor and legislature are paying for part of this “relief” with money taxpayers are already owed, creating a fake cap on property tax increases, and going after even more of our TABOR refunds," said Michael Fields president of Advance Colorado. "We really waited this whole session for this half-baked proposal? Voters deserve a real long-term solution to this crisis."

Teller County Commisioner Dan Williams said the governor's proposal is helpful, but other legislation, like Senate Bill 108, needs to be passed alongside it. He said Senate Bill 108 doesn't require voter approval and could be used by local governments 60 days after it is passed.

See the full letter here:

Teller County Commissioners

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