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Property values increase throughout the county

$34 million in property taxes so far this year

By Adam Broderick

We don’t know enough this early in the year to officially say that property values, thus property taxes, are trending upward, but the numbers so far show an increase.

As of July 8, 2015 the assessed value of all real property in Gunnison County was $550,000,000. The value of assessed personal property was $61,000,000. The combined total assessed property value was $611,000,000. Gunnison County treasurer Debbie Dunbar says taxes are calculated on a percentage of the value the county assessor places on property, not the whole actual assessed value, and property taxes collected by the county between January 1 and July 17, 2015 totaled $33,562,910.

Kristy McFarland, assessor for Gunnison County, explained that assessed value is the actual value multiplied by the assessment rate, which is set by the state. For a single-family residence, that rate is currently 7.96 percent. All other property, including residential vacant lots, is 29 percent. The large difference can be credited to the Gallagher Amendment, which was enacted in 1982 to limit the residential share of property taxes.

McFarland also explained the difference between real property and personal property. Real property includes all lands or interests in lands mines, quarries, minerals in and under the land, all rights and privileges thereunto, and improvements. Such “improvements” include all structures, buildings, fixtures, fences, and water rights erected on or affixed to land, and such “fixtures” include accessories or parts of real property, such as air conditioning and ventilation, sanitation and lighting, plumbing, etc.

Personal property, however, means everything else on the property not considered real property, such as machinery, equipment, and other articles related to the business of a commercial or industrial operation.

As for whether to expect property tax increases in the future, tax bills may increase but property taxes will not change at the same rate as property value. According to the 2015 Gunnison County Assessor Report, that’s because property taxes are a result of assessed values running against mill levies, and mill levies are established at the end of each calendar year based on the revenue needed to fund the county’s annual budget.

The 2015 Assessor Report gives numbers from recent years for comparison.

“The amount of property tax you pay depends greatly on where your property is located within the county. Properties located in the unincorporated county have the fewest services and as a result, pay the lowest taxes,” the report states.

In 2013, property taxes on a $500,000 home in Prospect averaged roughly $7,000. In 2014 that number went up to almost $8,000—nearly a $1,000 increase in one year. In Crested Butte, Mt. Crested Butte, Skyland and Crested Butte South, property taxes increased roughly $500 from 2013 to 2014.

According to McFarland, Gunnison County assessor, “It does seem like Crested Butte is no longer a best-kept secret—CBMR [Crested Butte Mountain Resort] will need a new slogan.”

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