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Money, Money: view from the County

Staff Report

WALSENBURG-  Property tax complaints and audits were on the table for the Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday, June 30 as the commissioners listened to Billy and Jean Breternitz and John Fuller, all from La Veta request adjustments in their property taxes for 2010.

    The grist of the Breternitz complaint was a 36 1/2 percent increase in their tax bill while their neighbors showed no increases in the Town of La Veta. 

    The county’s Chief Appraiser Bruce Quintana indicated that the appeal made by the Breternitzes was in part a miscommunication and that a property valuation is necessary in order to make any adjustments to their tax bill for 2011.

    2010 tax bill are based on property sales from January 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008 along with mill values that the different districts such as the La Veta Fire District and the La Veta Library District have requested.  The Breternitzes scheduled a  property valuation with the county’s appraiser for a later date.

    Dave Fuller of Fuller Real Estate also had an issue with his tax bill and received a valuation which lowered his bill by about $1,328 from $7,439 to $6,111.  Since he had already paid the larger amount Fuller was due the refund even though he had requested that the county carry the difference over to his 2011 tax bill.

    The next valuation period will be from June 2008 though January 2010.  If home sales have fallen over that period then taxes on property in Huerfano will also follow and this is where the collapsed housing bubble of 2008 and the following Great Recession will impact the county and its operations.

    The Commissioners also unanimously approved Resolution 10-13 which opposes proposition 101 and amendments 60 and 61.  All three issues are on the November ballot for the residents of Colorado to either approve or disapprove. 

    “If they are approved what we will see is a voter approved recession for the State of Colorado,” County Administrator John Galusha said.

    Some projections show that approval of the ballot issues could result in the loss of over 215,000 state jobs over the next two years.  The impact will also be felt at the local levels with further cuts to teaching staffs in local school districts, firefighters and police.

    The Commissioners also passed on a 3-0 vote a resolution supporting the local Health and Human Services office in Walsenburg.  The state has indicated that it might consolidate the local office into the office in Pueblo. 

    John Carlson approached the couny commissioners and wanted to talk about the county road map recently published by Huerfano County.  The dialogue between Carlson and the commissioners became contentious as Carlson indicated that the many locations that visitors to the county might like to see were not on the map.

    “John, this is a road map of the county, not a tourist map,” Commissioner Roger Cain said.         However the map is making appearances at all the local tourist information areas.