Pitkin County set the mill levies, or tax rates, for its funds and special districts for 2024, working backward from the budget numbers adopted in December.
Usually, the county adopts mill levies and the budget on the same day in December. But with skyrocketing property values statewide, the state legislature put property tax relief bill Proposition HH to the voters in November. Even though it failed, the timeline for certifying mill levies shuffled for taxing bodies.
One mill is one dollar per $1,000 of assessed value. That fits into the formula for calculating property tax: actual value (or market value) x assessment rate (a number set by the state legislature that varies by property type) = assessed value x tax rate (mill levies imposed by taxing districts = property taxes).
Revenue restrictions, or the limit on the annual increase in property tax revenue collected year-over-year, apply to the General, Road and Bridge, Human Services, Translator, Twining Flats GRID, Healthy Community, and Library funds.
“That 5.5% limitation is applied to the entire tax base. So the tax base also increased by 1.65% during the year,” said Ann Driggers, chief financial and administrative officer for Pitkin County. “And then we do a bunch of other calculations. We refund for anything we’ve over-collected the previous year and then abatements and so on. But they’re fairly small numbers. And so we ended up with our mill levy for each of those funds.”
Temporary mill levy credits, or collecting less than the taxing body legally could, were applied to all funds except Redstone Ranch Acres RGID. They are a small district that chose to collect their full mill levy.
Some of those credits were required through revenue restrictions. Others were directed by the commissioners or special district boards to lessen the tax burden on taxpayers. In total, those credits amount to $14.7 million of tax dollars that could be collected but will not be.
“That’s plenty,” Commissioner Francie Jacober joked at the Jan. 10 meeting.
Actual valuations, which come from comparable real estate sales data, in 2023 totaled $70.4 billion, an increase of $29.1 billion or 70% compared to 2022. Assessed valuations, which are affected by state-mandated assessment rates, amounted to $5.7 billion, an increase of $2 billion or 54.35% over assessed valuations in 2022.
Pitkin County fell among the highest average actual and assessed value increases in the state as COVID-19 restrictions and changes to office culture pushed remote workers into rural, recreation-rich areas of the state and country.
There are approximately 16,915 residential, commercial, or agricultural properties in Pitkin County, according to county officials.
The county assessor reevaluates property value every two years. The 2023 values are based on market conditions as of June 30, 2022, and affect the county property tax revenues for 2024 and 2025.
The Board of Equalization process resulted in a $1.3 billion reduction across more than 4,000 appeals of actual values in Pitkin County.
Other special tax districts in the county have until Jan. 17 to notify Driggers of their mill levies. She estimates tax bills will be ready to send out or view online Jan. 24.
By: Josie Taris | The Aspen Times I January 16, 2024