Conservative radio host wrong about DougCo 2024 tax increase

Suzie Glassman

By: Suzie Glassman/NewsBreak Denver

(Castle Rock, CO) While almost everyone can get behind the concept that teachers deserve a raise, some voters may have a hard time voting to pay for it, which is what DougCo's ballot initiative 5A asks.

Opposition, including conservative radio talk show host Kim Monson, has stated that now isn't the right time to ask due to inflation, high gas prices, and the potential for a significant property tax increase in 2024.

Monson states in the Douglas County General Election TABOR book:

"Douglas County real estate is expected to be reappraised 40% to 50% upward in 2023, so a $4,000 property tax bill in 2022 becomes a $6,000 property tax bill in 2024, and a $6,000 property tax bill becomes a $9,000 property tax bill. This MLO property tax increase would be IN ADDITION to those reappraisal increases."

Monson is correct that DougCo's real estate property values have increased. Yet, she’s wrong in saying that your property tax bill will increase by the same percentage.

Property value is one of three factors making up the amount you owe in property taxes. The other two are the residential assessment rate (set by the state legislature) and the tax rate (set by taxing authorities like the county water and sanitation district, school district, fire department, etc.).

Property tax formula

Property taxes are calculated using the following formula (from the DougCo Assessor's website):

Current Actual Value (provided on Notice of Value) x Assessment Rate = Assessed Value

Assessed Value x Tax Rate (Mill Levy) = Estimated Property Tax

What will happen in 2024

"First, what's happening in Douglas County regarding property taxes is happening in every Denver metro area," said DougCo appraiser Lisa Frizell in an interview.

"In the past, if property values went up significantly, a law called the Gallagher Amendment required legislators to lower the residential assessment rate to offset the residential owner’s tax burden."

However, in 2020, voters repealed the Gallagher Amendment. This law required legislatures to keep the taxes paid on residential properties equal to no more than 45% of the state's total property taxes.

With the law’s repeal, the state legislature passed SB21-293 in 2021, setting the residential assessment rates at 7.15% (2022) and 6.95% (2023), and SB22-238 fixes the state's residential assessment at 6.765%.

The combination of the 2023 reappraisal process without the ability to lower the residential assessment rate is driving fears of a massive increase.

How much will property taxes increase?

"No one will know for sure what their property tax will be until December 2023," says Frizell. That's because homeowners get time to receive their 2024 assessed home value at the beginning of the year and appeal the decision.

Then, the county's taxing authorities (city or town council, DougCo school district, any special districts you might reside in, etc.) also have to set the tax rate (mill levy).

The deadline to submit the tax rate is Dec. 15th, so no one can do the math until at least mid-December.

Frizell, who is running as the Republican candidate for House District 45, also says she knows of potential legislation in the works that would protect homeowners from owing a substantially higher amount in 2024.

"At this point, any speculation about what property owners in DougCo will pay in property taxes is premature," she said.

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I'm a reporter covering the Douglas County School District in Colorado.

Denver, CO

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