By Jody Shadduck McNally,
Kristin Stephens, and John Kefalas
Larimer County commissioners
By now you’ve read and processed the Larimer County Assessor’s Notice of Valuation for your property and have either appealed or accepted the new value. As your commissioners, we wanted to jointly address these residential and nonresidential property value increases.
State law requires county assessors to reappraise the value of all properties every two years, within the 18-month period ending on June 30 of the year before the reappraisal year, and state law allows the assessor to extend the “study sales period” by 6-month increments. For the tax year 2023, the 2-year time frame was July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022, when Colorado’s real estate market was robust and before interest rates were lower. It is important to note that while your value percentage is most likely higher, that doesn’t necessarily mean your taxes will increase by the same percentage because what we pay is based on the taxable value.
Regarding the property taxes payable in 2024, the county only receives about 23% of all your property tax dollars. If you live within a metro district, it’s less — closer to 15%. The remaining property tax revenue is sent to our local taxing authorities and public schools [you can see this on your tax statement], which provide the essential, critical services our community needs to function. You can see how the county uses its revenue by visiting our budget website at 2023_adopted_bib.pdf (larimer.gov).
Before the Colorado Legislature’s adjournment in May, two proposals were advanced to lower your property taxes by reducing the taxable value of your property. Colorado voters might have the opportunity to vote on these two measures in the November 2023 election. For the past several months, the Board of County Commissioners has discussed a mill levy tax credit to provide some tax relief for our community.
The first, passed by the Colorado State Legislature, is Proposition HH [Senate Bill 23-303], which asks voters to approve a 10-year measure to lower residential and non-residential property tax assessment rates, through 2032, with the potential to extend the proposed changes There are other provisions in Proposition HH that would lower our property tax liability and thus reduce county revenue.
The second is Citizen Initiative 21, which asks voters to place a cap on property taxes. Both measures would reduce TABOR [Taxpayer Bill of Rights] refunds to make up for lost property tax revenue.
If approved by voters, both measures will impact the operations and service levels Larimer County provides to our community since revenue for the county will be lower. Law enforcement, jail management, criminal justice programs, road construction and maintenance, human services, health and environment resources, and services from the Larimer County Clerk and Recorder are just a few of the public benefits Larimer County provides that touch our community every day.
While Proposition HH won’t cap the property tax growth for school districts or metro districts, which take the highest share of your property tax dollars, Initiative 21 would significantly lower the revenue to public schools.
We understand the impact this property value increase places on our community members, especially those with limited or fixed income, and we do not intend to receive a windfall from its share of projected increased revenue. Rather, we want to continue doing the right things for our community while providing the vital, quality services that make our county the special place it is. We are preparing different budget scenarios; we’re also committed to a mill levy tax credit should neither of the ballot measures pass to provide some tax relief at the county level. We want to do what we can to help our community weather these changes.
Jody Shadduck McNally, Kristin Stephens, and John Kefalas are Larimer County commissioners representing all of Larimer County.