The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners in a recent meeting.

Garfield County pursues temporary mill levy credit

Move would effectively lower the county’s mills from 13.655 to 13.155 for 2023

December 5, 2023

Garfield County is pursuing a temporary mill levy credit in 2023 that effectively reduces its mills from 13.655 to 13.155 to help provide some relief for homeowners who are facing increased property taxes in the wake of surging home values.

The proposed credit would only be in effect for one year, and does not change the mill levy, but rather uses the credit to reduce the amount of property tax the county collects. The Board of County Commissioners will vote on the temporary mill levy credit and the county’s 2024 budget at the next regular meeting on Dec. 11.

“The tax credit reduction is for the county alone and not for other districts,” said Commissioner John Martin. “A tax credit identifies what the reduction would be, and the mill levies stay the same, but you get a tax credit showing the reduction of what is being collected on that mill levy.”

In May, property owners received notices of value that reflected property values based on the local real estate market as of June 30, 2022, as determined by the Garfield County Assessor’s Office. The market value is first multiplied by the state’s assessment rate, which is set by the Colorado Constitution, and then is multiplied by the total mill levy in each district, equaling the tax amount due.

The State of Colorado recently passed State Bill 23B-001 in a special session, lowering the state’s assessment rate from 6.765 to 6.7 percent and increasing the amount that can first be deducted on the value of a property from $15,000 to $55,000.

It is anticipated and has been reported that SB 23B-001 will provide a reduction of approximately $250 for a property valued at $1 million that pays approximately 70-75 mills. That relief will vary depending on the actual value of the property and how many mills are associated with that property. This mill levy credit from Garfield County’s mill levy is additional relief on top of that amount.

“We’re all dealing with the increases in the real estate market,” said Garfield County Assessor Jim Yellico. “As a citizen and not as assessor, I’m seeing my tax bill going up just like everybody else.”

Each district’s mill levy is voted upon by the people in those districts and is used to fund local taxing entities, such as school, fire, sanitation, and library districts, and local governments. The Garfield County Treasurer’s Office collects property taxes, but the county only keeps its portion of the overall mill levy. The rest is distributed to each taxing entity based on its mill levy.

Without factoring in the temporary mill levy credit, the county’s 2024 proposed budget includes tentative revenues of $131.3 million, expenditures of $131.4 million, and will draw down reserves by $157,000. SB 23B-001 will reduce the county’s revenues by approximately $1 million. The temporary mill levy credit will reduce county revenues by approximately $2 million. In aggregate, these adjustments will increase the amount the county must pull from its reserves by approximately $3 million.

“The increased costs hurt our senior citizens on fixed incomes more than just about anybody else,” added Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “This credit will also provide some relief to our commercial, vacant land, and oil and gas sectors.”