Tax statements are being mailed to Douglas County residents the week of Jan. 18, and many will notice a hike in their property taxes due to an increase in property values.
Per state law, homes in Colorado are reappraised every other year in odd-numbered years. The most recent appraisal was in 2015, and the tax notices going out this week will be the first time homeowners see the changes.
The countywide market saw a 15.5 percent jump in 2015, according to Douglas County Assessor Lisa Frizell. Entry level housing, such as townhomes and condos, saw the greatest increases, 25 percent to 40 percent in value. What the county defines as the Highlands Ranch area, which includes Lone Tree, was the region with the largest increase in property value, with a 19.29 percent increase from 2014 to 2015. Castle Rock was next in line with an 18.11 percent increase.
“It’s similar to the late ‘90s, early 2000s,” Frizell said. “That’s the last time we saw this kind of increase in Douglas County.”
To reappraise a home, the assessor’s office uses the market approach, which studies home sales in each specific area. The 2015 reappraisals used sales from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2014.
“It’s important to note that we don’t value property in Highlands Ranch the same as in Castle Rock — they are two different markets with different sales,” Frizell said. “For example, we only use sales in The Meadows to value Meadows houses.”
Property taxes are determined by multiplying the assessed property value by the mill levy and dividing it by 1,000.
“This is not the county making the decision,” Frizell emphasized. “There’s a lot that goes into it. The real estate market is robust. That combined with no decreases in mill levies outside of the school district makes taxes higher.”
But while checks are written to Douglas County, the county does not keep all the tax money. Of the total taxes due, 18.774 percent goes to Douglas County. The rest goes to various taxing authorities within the county, including the Douglas County School District, the library district, water and sewer, fire and law enforcement. There are 178 taxing authorities throughout Douglas County that are levying taxes for 2015. Each taxing authority has its own mill levy, and residents will see different taxing authorities on their statement depending on which district they live in.
“We want to prepare folks that they will see an increase and we want them to understand where the money is going,” Frizell said. “While they write the check to the county, those dollars are distributed to the entities that provide services to that property.”
Residents will either receive a postcard or a full statement in the mail depending on whether they escrow taxes through their mortgage or not. Either way, residents have the ability to view their statement in full online at douglascotax.com.
“I encourage folks to go online and look at their tax bill,” Douglas County Treasurer Diane Holbert said. “We are also encouraging people to pay online this year. E-checks are free and we accept all major credit cards.”
Postcards and statements will also have QR codes, which residents can scan with a smartphone or tablet to be brought straight to their individual tax statement online.
The next reappraisal process will begin this summer and study home sales from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016. Property will be reassessed again in 2017.
Shanna Fortier, http://castlerocknewspress.net/stories/Property-values-on-rise-along-with-taxes,205404