Pitkin County saw a record number of appeals of property reappraisals, while Eagle County saw a high number but no record and Garfield County didn’t come close to a record.
Pitkin County saw 4,712 appeals, which topped the 4,505 protests made in the recession-marred cycle in 2009.
“So this was our largest year ever,” said Pitkin County Assessor Deb Bamesberger.
That number could grow. Property owners who filed their appeals by mail had to get them postmarked by June 8. Even though that was a month ago, Bamesberger said the mail delivery to her office from the Aspen Post Office was spotty, at best, in June. The office didn’t receive mail for a two-week stretch in the latter part of the month.
If late appeals arrive by mail, she said she will accept them as long as they were postmarked by the deadline.
Pitkin County has 16,722 property accounts listed with the assessor’s office, so the appeal rate this year was 28%. The assessor’s office made 2,279 adjustments to valuations and denied another 2,433 appeals, Bamesberger said Wednesday.
In Eagle County, there were 7,009 appeals this year, well below the roughly 8,200 protests made in 2009, according to Assessor Mark Chapin.
The state of Colorado mandates that counties perform reappraisals every other year, in odd-numbered years. The county assessors’ figures are audited by the state to make sure they are adjusting property values properly. This year, the reappraisals are based on the property value as of June 30, 2022 — when the Roaring Fork Valley real estate market was hitting a peak.
Chapin said for the five reappraisals between 2011 and 2019, Eagle County averaged 3,000 appeals. In 2021, the number was just 1,200. The 7,010 appeals this year represents 16% of the total parcel count of about 44,000, he said. That was a significantly lower percentage than Pitkin County.
Of the appeals in Eagle County, there were 4,877 denials, 2,111 adjustments and 21 withdrawals.
Chapin said his staff had substantial information to work with as there were about 5,600 property sales in the window of time designated by the state to examine for comparable sales. That was the 18-month period ending June 2022.
“Sales speak for where the market went,” he said. He believes current data shows asking prices aren’t falling for real estate in the Roaring Fork and Eagle valleys, but the volume of sales is falling.
Garfield County only received 1,932 appeals this year or about 7% of the total parcel count, according to Assessor Jim Yellico. That was well below the record of 2,630 in 2009. There were only 380 appeals two years ago.
He credited the low number of appeals to the thorough job his staff undertook to establish the values.
“We put a lot of effort into the beginning,” Yellico said. By putting the effort into the reappraisals, his staff spends less time responding to appeals, he said.
The counties sent out notices of valuation to property owners in early May. Property owners had until June 8 to file an appeal. They had to produce sales data that they thought supported their claim of a lower value. The assessors had to respond by June 30 with a notice of determination — either adjusting the value or denying the appeal.
Property owners who had their appeal denied have further recourse. They can appeal to the Board of Equalization, which consists of the county commissioners. In Pitkin County, the commissioners appoint hearing officers to conduct hearings. In Garfield County, the county commissioners sit as the Board of Equalization.
Bamesberger said 181 hearings were scheduled before the hearing officers in Pitkin County as of Wednesday.