Moffat County Assessor Robert Razzano said trying put an average on the change in assessed values of homes throughout the county is not an easy task.
“It’s going to be hard to get any numbers out there that are going to be useful as far as putting a percentage out there,” Razzano said, noting how large and diverse the county is.
But, he said, one thing was clear across the board.
“The overall trend was down,” he said.
The assessor’s office mailed assessed values to homeowners at the beginning of the month. Owners may appeal their valuation until June 1.
According to statistics from the assessor’s office, the assessed value of residential property in Moffat County dropped from $61,924,772 in 2010 to $60,435,262, or 2.46 percent.
Razzano said a person can appeal the value to find out why their home was valued how it was. He said the appeal process happens on a personal level with county officials visiting the property.
Deputy Assessor Carol Scott said because the initial appraisal is done using statistics, the assessor’s office isn’t always familiar with properties being valued.
“We’re taking sales data, establishing new values, placing them on property throughout the county, and for an individual property, that may not turnout to be valid,” she said.
“That’s why the appeal period is important, because it might be a property that we haven’t looked at, any of us in this office, in 20 years,” she said.
Razzano said a common misconception of the valuation process is the timeframe being assessed.
He said part of the equation, which also includes the age of the house and the square footage, is sales information for an 18-month period. For the current valuation, the sales spanned from January 2009 until June 2010.
“That might be a misconception people have: they want their value what it is now,” Razzano said. “When they get it, they look at it and say ‘Well my house isn’t worth that right now,’ but it’s what it’s worth last June in that period where we had to look at that data.”
He said that given recent economic conditions, some owners believe their property value should have gone down further.
“It’s gradually getting there, but in that period (of assessment), it only went down the percentage that we lowered it,” he said.
Razzano said how the drop in value could affect property tax will not be known until July, when state assessment is completed on properties related to natural resources such as Tri-State Generation & Transmission’s Craig Station power plant and local coal mines.
“Residential/commercial (property value) could go up or down 7 or 8 percent, and the plant value will go up $25 million, which would more than offset that,” he said. “Looking at commercial/residential, we’re probably going lose some revenue just based off the values dropping, but until we get the coal mines and the plant valuation from the state … we won’t know.”
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