by Matie Belle Lakish

County officials received copies of the Final Report to the State Board of Equalization regarding the re-appraisals for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013. They also received a bill for the state’s work on the re-assessment stating the amount of funds that must be repaid to the state because the county received state school funds to which it was not entitled. Copies of these documents can be obtained by contacting the Assessor’s office.

When all is said and done, the Actual Value of properties added to the county tax rolls for 2011 was $16,486,966, and for 2012 was $16,767,571. In 2013 an additional $2,134,039 was added. The Net Assessed Value, which varies by year and by class of property, but for 2013 is projected to be 7.96% for residences, was $802,584 in 2011 and $806,785 in 2012. The amount the county will collect in taxes is a small percentage of that. An estimated increase to total taxes due to the reassessment is $72,014.

There were considerable costs associated with this re-appraisal. After weighing all the state’s costs for their involvement in the re-assessment, the bill to the county was $86,412.05. However, Assessor Stephens reports that the total amount that the county will have to repay is still undecided. In her report to commissioners on October 15, she submitted the following:

“I thanked the State for the assistance and asked the SBOE Board if the $86,000 plus funds for the expenses could be given back to the county on the Bledsoe Plan.  Senator (Larry) Crowder stressed to the Board that the amount would be very detrimental to the County and if the Bledsoe Plan could be issued, he would carry the motion.  They had a new Attorney General Representative on the Board which stated that the Bledsoe Plan was not of State Law and could not be granted for the request.  Senator Crowder then asked if he could have time to talk to the General Attorney John Suthers, who he stated was his cousin, on this matter.  Administrator Groff stated that the Board could consider that the salary portion of the project could be retracted from the amount as these State Employees would have still been paid to conduct work within their organization.  The Board did retract the $63,947.70 allocated for salaries.  Senator Crowder stressed that he wanted Saguache County to be recognized for the amount that has already been paid in the amount of $25,166.16.  This now leaves a balance of $22,464.26 in expenses for the project.  This amount will be reviewed for payment at the end of the State of Colorado’s Fiscal Year of June 30th of next year.  The Board felt this would give time for someone in Legislation to carry a bill to make the Bledsoe Plan State Law.  I believe Senator Crowder will make sure this is carried in the next session.”

In addition to any costs of the appraisal, property owners will be assessed a one-time tax to pay the difference between what the schools were paid by the state over the last two years, and what they should have been paid based on the county’s updated assessed valuation. It works something like this: Per Pupil Operating Revenue is awarded to schools on a sliding scale based on the tax base of the district. In the past two years, our county seemed to have a lower tax base than it actually had because of the former appraisal being lower than it should have been. Therefore, the schools received more state monies than they were entitled to. Now, taxpayers must reimburse the state for that overpayment. It is estimated to be $46,211.72. This is estimated to be a modest one-time tax increase of about $5 to $10 per taxpayer, which will be assessed for 2013.