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"FAIR FOR EVERYONE?!?!?!?

Updated: Nov 1

On my opponent's campaign website, he clearly states the following: "Every year the Audit is passed, we as an Assessor’s Office, have treated every citizen fair and equitable". Note that he says "EVERY" citizen...Well, he passed the audit, but was he "fair and equitable" to EVERY citizen?


On my opponent's campaign website, he asked why I looked only at a specific Bessemer neighborhood, while ignoring several other neighborhoods that he then listed (challenge accepted, see below). Well, the Bessemer neighborhood was so glaringly overvalued in the 2021 Audit as the mean was not only too high, but it was also outside of audit standards it stuck out like a sore thumb - it was rather hard to miss.


Here is a listing of the 49 sales in that neighborhood; the columns are Time Adjusted Sale Price (TASP), the 95% Level of Value (LOV) required by the state auditor, the "Taxable Value" as currently assessed on each home, and the percent over-valued at the 95% level of value. All of this information can be gathered from the Assessor website. Just go into any parcel on the list on that website and then click the "Comp Sales" button. The sales date range automatically sets to the collection period (1/1/2019 - 6/30/2020). Set all parameters at the top of the page to "any" with the exception of the neighborhood (set that to 135). The comps will then show up on the left-hand side of the page; clicking on those comps will display the TASP at the top of the pop-up and the total assessed value at the bottom of the popup:



Note all of the over-assessments in this area. Why are we looking at 95% of TASP rather than the full TASP value? Frank Beltran always touts "the audit" as the ultimate measure of success for his office, and one of the requirements of "the audit" is that the level of taxable value must be at least 95% of any sale amount that has been adjusted for inflation (time adjusted sale price, or TASP). Based on that requirement, 38 out of the 49 sales (78% of the sales!) have been over-valued and therefore over-taxed...by as much as 52%! On Beltran's campaign website, he currently states the following: "Every year the Audit is passed, we as an Assessor’s Office, have treated every citizen fair and equitable". I wonder if those homeowners in Bessemer with taxable values exceeding 20%, 30%, 40% and even 50% of their TASP would agree with that statement? Have they been treated "fair and equitable"?


Errors of this type are NOT, however, limited to Bessemer, but are occurring countywide.

Let's look at a few examples from those neighborhoods hand-picked by my opponent on his campaign website that he believes depict correct property assessments:



I wonder if the owners of these homes feel that they have been treated "fair and equitable"? Naturally, I did not have the time or resources to go through ALL of the sales in these areas, so I simply picked out a small extract of the total sales.


Can you imagine how many additional over-valuations exist? I did verify that none of these sales had any changes that would alter their value in the intervening year. Note that there are significant over-valuations in these neighborhoods as well. The unfortunate reality is that since these sales have played a role in establishing value on the unsold homes in the same areas, those unsold homes most likely inherited similar over-valuations. Many of these over-valuations are a consequence of improper calibration of the models utilized in the mass appraisal process. In a proper analysis, outliers such as these are generally grouped together and correlations between characteristics common to the outliers are identified. Any resultant value contribution attributable to property characteristics common to a significant number of these outliers are then modified to create a more representative valuation model.


I suspect that my opponent will once again attempt to distract from these over-valued homes by presenting a listing of other properties in the same areas that are under-valued. While this may make my opponent feel that he has fulfilled his obligations to the taxpayers who pay his salary, I doubt those who must pay the property taxes based on these over-assessments would share that feeling. "Fair and equitable" treatment of "every citizen"? Sure doesn’t look that way to me.


Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, and I hope that you have found it to be informative.


Vote for J. Angel Lewis for Pueblo County Assessor this November.

Consistency. Integrity. Community.

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