County reduces certified tax rate
by Rudy Herndon
Staff Writer
Jul 24, 2014 | 1480 views | 0 0 comments | 87 87 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Natural resource development fueled new growth in Grand County this year, and as a result, most property owners can expect to see a drop in their county tax bills.

Grand County Clerk-Auditor Diana Carroll said that new property values added more than $84.7 million to the county’s tax rolls in 2014, leading to a downward adjustment of its certified tax rate.

“When the values go up in the county, our tax rates go down, so we collect the same amount of money,” Carroll said earlier this month.

As approved by a Grand County Council resolution, the new rate will be set at 0.002866, based on a total countywide value of more than $1.48 billion.

Fidelity Exploration & Production’s taxable value accounted for a significant percentage of that increase, according to a Grand County Assessor’s report on the county’s top taxpayers.

As the oil and gas producer added to its operations in the Big Flat area, its taxable value jumped from $23,621,814 in 2013 to $79,842,741 this year.

According to Carroll, it was far and away the single biggest increase in the category of “centrally assessed” property, which includes oil, gas and potash projects.

Intrepid Potash didn’t experience that level of growth. But the company remains the county’s number one taxpayer, with a taxable value of more than $122.66 million.

Overall growth within the centrally assessed category is up by nearly 23 percent, bolstered by increases from Mid-America Pipeline Co., Northwest Pipeline Corp., and Red Rock Gathering Co., among others.

“A lot of pipelines had added value,” Carroll said.

In contrast to significant increases in centrally assessed values, “real property” values for residential development, new motels and other commercial properties is up this year by 1.86 percent, according to Carroll.

While most county residents will benefit from this year’s lowered tax rate, property owners in Castle Valley can expect to pay slightly more than the county’s new rate, according to Carroll.

The Town of Castle Valley is proposing to increase its tax rate to make up for a $20,000 drop in the assessed value of properties within the town limits.

Carroll linked the proposed changes to a slump in that area’s housing and property market.

“Their value is going down by the assessor’s actions,” she said. “The value change will cause them to pay a little bit more money.”

Castle Valley Mayor Dave Erley said May 21 that the proposed increase would amount to $106.40 per $100,000 for a two-year period; it would drop to $86.29 per $100,000 in the third year, according to the minutes of that meeting.

The town plans to use the vast majority of money from that planned increase to fund road improvements and a water study, according to the town council’s May 21 minutes.

Castle Valley’s council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on its proposed final budget on Aug. 12.

Ultimately, Carroll noted that the county has no control over Castle Valley’s proposed rates, or an advertised “Truth in Taxation” increase that the Grand County School District is considering.

“When all is said and done, it’s going to depend on what the other entities do,” she said. “But as for the county … we don’t have an increase in any of those numbers.”

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