Pitkin County Property Valuations: Tax Appeals Result in Billions of Dollars of Reductions

Stephanie Kroll

After a year of unprecedented property valuations in Pitkin County, the County Board of Equalization has completed its extensive appeals process, leading to a substantial reduction of $1,332,644,642.60 in assessed property values. The appeals process, which spanned several months, involved negotiations, stipulations, and adjustments to address the concerns raised by property owners.

Background and Valuation Surge

This year witnessed historic increases in assessed property values, driven by a surge in comparable property selling prices. The valuation process utilized sales data from January 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022, within Pitkin County. The staggering valuation hikes, with some properties experiencing up to a 200% increase, prompted a significant wave of appeals—totaling 4,724.

Appeals Resolution and Board of Equalization

Approximately 2,400 appeals reached agreements through negotiations with appraisers, while the remaining 1,593 proceeded to hearings before the appointed hearing officers of the County Board of Equalization. These hearings, conducted between July 7 and September 15, involved discussions and assessments by experienced hearing officers.

Outcomes of Hearings

The outcomes of the hearings varied and included administrative denials, stipulations, adjustments, or no change in valuation. Notably, appeals resulting in a valuation change through stipulation or adjustment averaged a 69.68% increase, down from the initial 86.33%.

Options for Property Owners

Property owners seeking tax relief still have avenues for protest and appeal. Those who stipulated during the appeal period cannot protest again until the next valuation cycle in 2025. However, property owners can protest every year, even if their value was adjusted or denied. Additionally, the abatement process is available to property owners who did not file a petition at all.

Further Appeal Options

For those unsatisfied with the County Board of Equalization's decision, further appeal options include filing an appeal within 30 days with the State Board of Assessment Appeals, Pitkin County District Court, or pursuing arbitration through the Pitkin County Board of Equalization.

Property Tax Limitations and Revenue Increase

Despite the reduction in assessed values, property taxes are not expected to skyrocket. State-imposed limitations on property tax revenue, capped at a 5.5% increase for 2024 by the TABOR amendment, will restrain significant increases. Special tax districts may also impact the final property tax bill, with some districts adjusting mill levies or debrucing to manage revenues effectively.

In conclusion, the conclusion of the appeals process reflects a concerted effort to address concerns raised by property owners amid unprecedented valuation increases. The County Board of Equalization's meticulous review and subsequent adjustments aim to strike a balance between fair assessments and the financial well-being of property owners in Pitkin County.

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