Suzanne Brinks: Addressing some ugly comments


— To the Editor:

I have gotten calls this week asking, "How are you and your office surviving all the complaints about taxes since the tax bills were mailed last Monday?"

Frankly, the calls have not increased from prior years. Every year after tax notices are mailed, we are barraged with phone calls and complaints. This happens even in years when taxes have decreased.

The purpose of this letter is to address some of the ugly comments that have been made about Moffat County School District personnel and Samantha Johnston, an employee of The Memorial Hospital, and accusations that they are liars and how people were totally misled about the tax increases associated with the mill levies to each of the entities.

These people did not lie to the public. They were estimating what taxes would be on a residence valued at $150,000.

The increase on the school mill levy of 5.101 was approximately $60 (or about $5 a month). The increase on the hospital mill levy was approximately $36 (or about $3 a month).

The largest part of the tax increase was because 2007 was a reappraisal year, in my office, and all property in the county was revalued. Notices of Value indicating changes to value were mailed to all taxpayers May 1.

The entire month of May every year is a taxpayers opportunity to protest or question the value of their property. If your notice showed the prior year's value was $120,000 and the new value was shown as $150,000 that is an increase of $30,000, and this increase would be about $170 dollars.

In 2007 (the 2006 tax roll) the taxes for the above house valued at $120,000 would have been approximately $680.00. The new value of $150,000 would generate a tax bill for approximately $950 and, as stated above, the majority of this increase was due to the increased value of the property. Property taxes are also called ad valorem taxes; ad valorem is Latin, which means according to value.

I started working in the Assessor's Office in 1987. At that time, most of the property transfers I did were foreclosures. I owed more on my house at that time than I could have sold it for. We are currently experiencing rising property values and healthy growth in our county. I don't think any of us want to go back to the days when our properties were worth less than what we paid for them.

As I have said in the past, if you have any questions about your property value, my office will address your concerns.

The month of May, every year, is protest period.

This is the time to question the value placed on your property, not after you have received your tax bill. As a property owner, you cannot protest the amount of your taxes to my office. We can only address the value placed on the property. My office does not set the mill levies. Mill levies are set by the governing boards of the various taxing authorities.


Suzanne Brinks

Moffat County Assessor


George Robertson 9 years, 1 month ago

wow native talk about the pot calling the kettle black!


grannyrett 9 years, 1 month ago

Tax appraisals are scheduled every few years. It just happens that the appraisal and the increase for the school and hospital are happening at the same time. If you would take the time to go to the assessors office, they would explain everything to you. I bet if some of you ask, they will talk real slow so you can understand.


CindyLou 9 years, 1 month ago

Inflated home values caused by appraisers and home owerners borrowing more than the home is worth, that is why my how increasd in value 25% in one year. Negligent lending institutions loaning 150% of what a home is worth, giving governement agencies a reason to raise property values is why our assessor was able to justify an increase. A home investment use to be logical, the way our bankers, appraisers, and assessors are pushing everything a person would be better off investing in a dot-com like in the late 90's and we all know how that benefited a select few while the rest of the honest investors saw their mutual funds raped and pillaged by those in positions of authority and trust. And once again Naive's, oops I mean Native's logic is indisputable "Thank you Mrs. Brinks, and Jennifer for explaining what this is all about." I am sure glad the person raising the value of my property was able to explain what, where, when, why, and how they were able to raise my taxes. They should have just said "Because I can," and left it at that. Do you honestly think they feel their logic is flawed?


grannyrett 9 years, 1 month ago

CindlyLou-I have said it before, so I will say it again-just for you. If you think your appraisal was wrong, you should have gone to the assessors office and challenged it. They just want a reason why you think so, and they will check it out. They did for me a few years ago. Look at your appraisal. It is probably quite a bit lower than what a realtor could sell it for. Ours always was.


CindyLou 9 years, 1 month ago

Granny thanks for the pearls of wisdom, but I started protesting from the minute I received my notice. I even showed them what the house across the street sold for 6 months ago (almost identical floor plan as mine) and their answer was "well that was 6 months ago and your house has obviously increased in value since that time" (it must be because I got a permit to put up a new fence and fix my driveway). They said they would get back to me in a week and I got an official mailed response and they readjusted my value down $2,000 (the hours out of my life netted me about minimum wage for my efforts).


citizensforgrowth 9 years, 1 month ago

I think the hostpital and school district misled people into thinking they would only "contribute"$40 or $50 a year for their dream projects. They used the now famous average home value of $150,000 to ply their case.We all know that the only property going for that is a mobile home or a hundred year old house w/no square footage. It is true voters need to research what they vote on but more realistic numbers should have been used. grannyrett was right when she said the tax increase was a double whammy of increasing home values and the school and hostpital happening at the same time. But it is the people in those "average"$150000 houses who are whinning and can probably least afford it.I wish we could use an increase in the sales tax to pay for these projects instead of just sticking it to homeowners all the time. Everyone should have to pay for the construction of a building everyone will use. Just singling out homeowners is not the responsible way to do this.


grannyrett 9 years, 1 month ago

Citizensforgrowth-That would have been a great idea! Sure wish someone would have put it on the ballot that way. It would have made sure that everyone pays for the hospital and the schools both. I don't know what percent they would have had to raise the sales tax, but it would have been more fair. I suppose it's too late now.


taxslave 9 years, 1 month ago

The values of homes across this nation have dropped over 20% and no one is talking about that. WHAT OUR LEADERS DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE STATE OF THE NATION IS A LOT.

Our economy is on the brink of implosion and they talk about taxes....HA.....let's talk about food that will all to soon be too expensive to's called HYPER-INFLATION. Costs of everything, food, gas, heat, everything, is headed straight for the roof. Meanwhile, wages stay flat. Any raises lately at Trapper Mine?

Wake up and smell the coffee...get informed. Gold boullion is over 950/oz today. The price of gold is an indicater of trouble.....actually gold is being manipulated, it's actually closer to 5K/oz..

Those who think all is well and you have that warm and fuzzy feeling inside, well, good luck to ya.


taxslave 9 years, 1 month ago

I am willing to bet we will start witnessing foreclosures and bankrupcys like the rest of the nation. I'm already seeing empty homes. Many mortgage companies are also going bankrupt, i.e., Countrywide. They will not be able to pay the property taxes on these properties.

Banks are not loaning money right now so no one is buying these homes...just incase you haven't noticed. If you're fortunate to buy you MUST have 20% cash is over on the bs loans of sub-prime.

I'm betting the city and county will see a dramatic DECREASE in revenue so don't count your chickens until they're hatched. Every city in the country is in the same boat. Every bank in the country is in the same boat.

I hope the city reads this. The "Survivor Partys" of the late 80's weren't called "survivor" without good cause.


Neal Harkner 9 years, 1 month ago

Guys and gals, I like a good public flogging of government as much as the next person but there are a few things I've seen that need to be cleared up:

1) Countrywide has NOT filed for bankruptcy.

2) House values have NOT dropped 20% across the nation. There are areas like Southern California, parts of Colorado, the Northeast, and Florida that have seen double-digit price decreases but for the nation as a whole the median price of a single family home was 6.5% lower in December of '07 than it was in December of '06.

Each micro-market is different. Craig could conceivably have a boom in real estate sales while 40 miles away Steamboat experiences a bust. The assessor's office has an online database that's accessible via the web. I don't see the current property valuation on the site but it does list comparable house sales and prices...I saw as far back as 1995.

3) The appraisers aren't artificially inflating the values of your houses to squeeze tax money out of you. That is illegal and they can lose their licenses and be prosecuted if they're caught doing it.

The value of your house is determined largely by the sales price of comparable houses within a certain radius of your house that sold during the last re-appraisal period. The most recent data is the most heavily weighted. Only sales between willing buyers and willing sellers are included in the calculation. Foreclosures DO NOT count in the calculation because they aren't willing sales.

I personally don't know how Moffat County works but my property is re-appraised yearly and the valuation goes up around 2-5%. Every year I protest my valuation, and every year I have it lowered.

Jennifer...since Moffat County reappraises the property every 5 years, does the property valuation stay the same for 5 years and then suddenly spike at the 5-year mark or does the assessor's office factor in yearly changes to the market value?

Hope that helps.


JenniferRiley 9 years, 1 month ago

Harkner - Colorado counties are required to reappraise property every 2 years. The value will stay the same in that 2-year period unless the property owner does something to change it - like remodel, build a garage, etc. And every time a property sells, we physically inspect the property. Hope this helps.

Thanks for the info you looked up.

Jennifer Riley Moffat County Assessor's Office


citizensforgrowth 9 years, 1 month ago

Hi native!!I sold my mobile home on August 31 for $158000.sorry about your crock but I deal in facts and reality.Enjoy eating your crow! I hear its better with salt.Look foreward to hearing from you soon.


citizensforgrowth 9 years, 1 month ago

Wine and new potatos...sounds tasty! Of course I sold my mobile home with the LOT. The reason I gave you the CLOSING DATE ON THE SALE is because it is PUBLIC RECORD and you can look it up. There are new mobile homes constructed today that can go for $150,000 and beyond. They are called UBC constructed homes and there is no limit to what they can cost. It all depends on how big and fancy you want to go. Glad to educate you again, native. If you learn nothing else...remember, a crow diet is healthier than subway (but don't tell Jared).


valleylocal 9 years, 1 month ago

UBC (Unified Building Code) vs. HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development). HUD are mobile homes/manufactured with steel/metal frames (like a vehicle) and UBC are modulars with wood joist floor supports just like stick built homes. And while your looking up UBC vs. HUD try looking up the difference between modulars and manufactured homes.

Mortgage companies are lending just with more scrutiny. I just obtained a $250,000 refi, closed within three weeks, and was able to get 5.25% (which saves me about $300 monthly). Just need to pay your bills on time and keep your credit score above average and you'll have no problems.

Good to see that some of us are educated and use this form to help the less informed.


vor 9 years, 1 month ago

native...don't know any "suckers" out there. Only people that want to make a sound investment. This usually means a mobile/manufactured home on land or a lot. Sorry, kitten, but that is just the way it goes sometimes when we make bad purchases to begin with. I think the original point to all this was that $150,000. is really not an average price for a home in Moffat County. Don't see much for sale in that ball park that could be considered a sound investment. "Average", native, means that half are below, and half are above, and I have to agree with citizensforgrowth that really all I see out there for UNDER $150,000. are mobiles w/ or w/o land and older fixer-uppers. The average home (stick know the 3 to 4 bdrm, 2bath etc) cost is much higher, and when the proposed tax was laid out they did go off of what they said was average...$150,000. This amount turned out to be much higher on the property tax...because our value on our houses is much higher than the average that they quoted. Typical government, though. Politics in action from the Fed to the local is not much different in terms of getting what they want when they want it no matter what they have to do to get it.


STANHATHHORN 9 years, 1 month ago

So, you all feel duped! It's easy to sell a project if you don't identify the real cost to those that will fund that project. Just one less latte or pack of cigarettes per week some said. Between the school and the hospital the tax increase was about 13% regardless of the value of your property, but it wasn't sold that way was it? Then, that 13% was compounded by the 2007 reappraisal. Ill informed voters asked for it and they surely got it. My taxes on two commercial buildings only increased by 47% or about $9000.00 and I voted NO!! You all voted in good faith for a new hospital, do you really think you will get it? Ask Sam about TMH 2007 profit from operations. $28,000 won't even buy that trailer house that is for sale, even with a sub-prime loan.


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