Assessor to present property value report |

Assessor to present property value report

Collin Smith

A few weeks ago, Moffat County Assessor Suzanne Brinks was happy the county would have an additional $77 million in assessed value from 2008 to 2009.

However, a preliminary report she plans to present to the Moffat County Commission at 9 a.m. today will paint an even rosier picture of the local economy’s gains last year.

State assessed property values – which include all public utilities and the Tri-State Generation & Transmission power plant – increased by about $7 million, mostly because of the plant’s increasing value, Brinks said.

She had feared state assessed would fall, but it didn’t. Taken as a whole, the increase in property values shows how healthy Moffat County’s economy was last year.

Her report to the commission is open to the public, and it may include some discussion about the increasing value of residential and commercial properties, as well.

Some local residents have expressed frustration about increasing home values this year and claim that the current recession, which has slowed the local real estate market, should push their values and subsequent property taxes down.

However, Assessor’s Office officials have said the state requires them to record all residences as of their values in summer 2008 before the national economy began its downturn.

Brinks and the commission will not be addressing any protests today, but they will have a discussion about the overall picture in the county.

Commissioners often have said they’re more worried about what values will look like in 2010 and 2011.

Valuations in one year actually represent the previous year. Therefore, this year’s valuations, which are so far up from previous figures, represent 2008 and not 2009.

The economy has not been as strong this year, and officials predict a fall in values and subsequent tax revenue in the next couple of years.

Brinks also will discuss how the county plans to distribute money raised from fines levied against energy companies for not declaring some of their equipment and other owned property, such as pipelines.

In 2008, the county spent $132,500 to hire Oklahoma-based Visual Lease Services to audit local energy companies, and ended up finding about $935,000 worth of taxes and fines related to unreported oil and gas property.

At the time, the county, Moffat County School District, Colorado Northwestern Community College and Colorado River Water Conservation District split the extra revenue, because each of them paid part of the cost to hire Visual Lease.

However, the county paid Visual Lease $40,750 to come back this year, and Brinks wants to know if the other entities will claim part of this year’s fine revenue, as well.

She doesn’t know how much it will be, but she said Visual Lease already has found “a lot” of unreported oil and gas equipment in the county.

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or

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