Property tax increase on the horizon
By Bryan Goodland
Every two years, the Douglas County Assessor’s Office revalues all real estate in the county as of an appraisal date set by state law. According to Assessor Lisa Frizell, Douglas County homeowners will likely see an increase in their 2019 property tax bill, arriving in the mail in the next 6-8 weeks.
“Although initial predictions were that the residential assessment rate would decrease, that didn’t take into account the changing economic conditions here in the state,” said Frizell. The success in various industries, as well as the effect of the Gallagher Amendment* play a part in the rate determination.
For the 2019 valuations, the assessor’s office looked at real estate sales data during a 24-month period – July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018. During that time frame, the median sales price for a single-family home in Douglas County increased from $442,500 to $509,000.
“The good news is that your real estate investment is really solid in Douglas County.”
– Douglas County Assessor Lisa Frizell
“I encourage homeowners to do the research for themselves and look at the home sales prices during that specific period of time,” said Frizell. There are some great tools available on the assessor’s website that break out the components of a particular property (searchable by address) that include the valuation information, sales history, building and land details and the taxing authorities.
The final determination of what property taxes residents will pay is calculated by taking the actual value of the home and multiplying it by the residential assessment rate (which is set by the Colorado State Legislature), resulting in the home’s assessed value. That value is then multiplied by any applicable mill levies, resulting in the property taxes that the homeowner will pay.
A mill levy is the tax rate set by any taxing authority providing service to the property. For instance, a mill levy could consist of portions from a metro district, school district, county or services like fire protection and law enforcement. Each entity accounts for a certain percentage of the overall mill levy taxes.
Housing prices have steadily increased in value in Douglas County, along with other counties throughout the state. Business has also been thriving in Colorado, which translates to more money for the taxing authorities. This also adds to the tax pressure put on property owners.
Something positive about property tax, according to Frizell, is that citizens have an actual say in how their tax dollars are being spent, and those dollars go to provide services to their property. “Residents have the opportunity to attend budget hearings and voice their opinions,” said Frizell, in addition to having their vote counted in local elections.
“The good news is that your real estate investment is really solid in Douglas County,” reassured Frizell. “It is very strong and favorable to those citizens who own homes in Douglas County.”
For additional information or to search a particular property, visit www.douglas.co.us/assessor/. If you have questions, call the public assistance line at 303-660-7450. “We love it when people call us and we have an opportunity to provide additional clarification,” said Frizell.
* Passed in 1982, the Gallagher Amendment sought to balance out the percentage of tax that homeowners would be burdened with in relation to other industries, which include residential, commercial and oil and gas. In essence, if home values increase faster than the values of these other entities, the assessment rate would trend down.