Appeals period with assessor’s office now complete
By Katherine Nettles
Gunnison County’s total assessed property value has exceeded $1 billion for the first time in the county’s history, up from $829 million during the last assessment period that concluded in 2021.
Colorado statute requires that county assessors list, classify and revalue all real estate property and personal property (defined as property that produces income) every two years. Gunnison County began the most recent process in 2022, as real estate markets were at a record high and the resulting notice of valuations based on an appraisal date of June 30, 2022 reflected the market height. These new values will be used to calculate property taxes until the next period adjusts values in 2025 according to the market in 2024.
In May of this year, property owners received valuation notices ranging 30% to 70% higher than the previous 2021 valuation, and had from May 1 through June 8 to appeal them.
Gunnison County assessor Kristy McFarland submitted a report to county commissioners this week summarizing the valuations process for 2023. “We had a total of 1,745 real property appeals, of which 566 were adjusted. We had four personal property appeals and all of those were adjusted,” she said.
“We hit a milestone of $1,156,600,000 for real property assessed value for Gunnison County for 2023 and $40,400,000 for personal property for an approximate total assessed value for Gunnison County of $1,197,000,000. It’s pretty astonishing,” summarized McFarland.
The previous assessed value for the county was $829,000,000, and the last time assessed values dipped was in 2007, she said. “Over the long haul, if we hadn’t had that dip we probably would have seen something very similar to this [number] sooner.”
Commissioners thanked her for her office’s hard and mostly thankless work, and noted that property values across the American West have soared. “You follow a very prescribed statutory process. It’s a massive appraisal process, which is very different than an individual building appraisal,” said county commissioner chair Jonathan Houck.
“With each reappraisal we refine our property attributes, so our level of precision gets greater every time. And we consider the appeal process a time of discovery. Property owners can bring to us information that they don’t see on their property record online…so we’re seeing less and less of that because we’ve been doing this all along. I feel really good about our records,” responded McFarland.
Commissioner Liz Smith asked how other counties have related to the heavy lift this round with increasing assessed values so common and steep.
McFarland said many counties have had a difficult time, particularly small ones. “Some were absolutely shell-shocked,” she said of a recent appraiser’s conference she attended.
Commissioners accepted the report unanimously.
If property owners choose to further appeal their new assessments, they must submit petitions by September 15 and the next level of appeals will come to the county commissioners, acting as the board of equalization, which can either accept or change those recommendations from the assessor’s office.