Assessor process may be delayed this year

Posted 5/26/21

Every two years, real property is assessed to begin the process that determines how much property owners will pay in taxes. Assessments in Jefferson County were mailed May 1 and owners have until …

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Assessor process may be delayed this year

Posted

Every two years, real property is assessed to begin the process that determines how much property owners will pay in taxes. Assessments in Jefferson County were mailed May 1 and owners have until June 1 to file protests if they believe the assessor has valued their properties for more than they are worth.

It’s always a good idea to take a good look at the assessed value. If it is too high, owners will pay more than their fair share.

Because of a backlog in updating county records for property sales, some taxpayers may be subject to increased tax bills without a meaningful way to challenge assessments. According to a phone message on the Assessor’s Office’s main phone line, real estate sales that occurred since August 2020 have still not been updated, and properties that were sold since that time were mailed to prior, not present, owners.

While the message seems designed to reassure people who sold property that they will not be liable for new taxes, the people who can be harmed by this delay are new owners.

Unless those new owners know both that a new assessment had been completed and how to find it on the assessor’s website, they have been left without knowing the value their property has been assessed, if and how much the assessed value has changed, and how that may impact their property tax bills for the next two years.

While Jefferson County’s budget woes are severe and well documented, it is inherently unfair to raise people’s property taxes without meaningful notice of valuation changes and opportunity to question and challenge property values.

• • •

The Evergreen Fire Protection District is poised to approve the construction of a new fire station at its June 8 meeting. After the most devastating fire season in our state’s history last year, determining how best to prevent wildfires and to protect the public when fires occur must be among the highest priorities we face moving forward.

These activities are particularly important in areas like Evergreen where wildfires can occur very near areas where many homes are located. As we decide how best to protect the people who live within the boundaries of EFPD, it is imperative that we have a complete public understanding of the best ways to prioritize resources.

The fire district owes all of us a more complete and comprehensive community conversation about how we use precious resources for fire protection including facility needs, fire mitigation efforts and evacuation plans before a final decision is made to build a new fire station and what should be included.

Greg Romberg is president of Romberg and Associates. He lives in Evergreen with his wife, Laurie.

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