Property owners in Moffat County could see higher tax bill in 2017
Projected decreases in revenue as property values drop in Moffat County prompts the school district to consider mill levy increase
Craig — Property values are down and that means a decrease in tax revenues for 2017, causing a number of tax entities such as Moffat County to start planning for belt tightening by decreasing budget expenditures.
“We are going to see a decrease in our property values with an estimated $52 million drop in value and that will have a large impact on different taxing entities,” said Moffat County Assessor Chuck Cobb.
Moffat County School District may choose to meet the shortfall by increasing its 1997 voter approved mill levy override.
The school district also has the choice to increase the 1994 to 1995 state authorized hold harmless levy, or school officials could increase the 2007 bond redemption levy.
In total the school district could raise property taxes by a total of about 3 percent in order to keep the district revenue flat.
Each year, each of the 14 taxing entities in the county use the assessor’s projected valuation to determine a mill levy, or tax rate.
These entities, not the assessor’s office, within guidelines set by voters, determine the amount of property tax that will be collected by certifying the mill levy to be collected, said the Division of Property Taxation within the Department of Local Affairs for the State of Colorado in “Understanding Property Taxes in Colorado,” available at the county assessor’s office.
The school district is the largest taxing entity having received 47 percent of the property tax revenue collected in 2015, said Cobb in “Abstract of Assessments and Levies” available from the assessor’s office.
In 2015, the Moffat County School District Board of Education did not levy all voter-approved taxes and is considering an increase to backfill the shortfall.
“The 1997 mill levy override has language that provides the board the opportunity, in the event of a change in value, to equalize it to minimize damage to the school budget,” said Superintendent of Schools Dave Ulrich during last months MCSD Board of Education meeting.
The district is currently crunching the numbers to better understand the impact to various tax sectors such as commercial property owners, residential property owners and agricultural property owners.
“If the school district increases their mill levy it could increase the 2017 taxes due in 2018,” said Camie Haskins, Moffat County assistant assessor.
Haskins, provided the following example to illustrate:
Per $100,000 in actual value a 1 mill increase would increase taxes by $8.00.
Example: A residential property with an actual value of $300,000 would increase taxes by $24 with a 1-mill increase. This is based on a property in the city limits.
Another option the school district has to compensate for decreases property tax revenue is to petition the State of Colorado to meet the shortfall though that seems unlikely to succeed given the decrease in school funding in prior years by the state, Ulrich said.
All taxing entities must certify the mills to be levied to the county assessor by early December.
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For the first time in 18 months, the Moffat County High School auditorium will fill with music and singing from students, as the school performs MCHS’s musical, “Beauty and the Beast.”