I brought up during the debate that the Assessor has some leeway regarding valuations (+/- 5% or .95 to 1.05). The closer that you come to “1,” the greater the risk of overvaluations. The current Assessor stated he "always" keeps the taxable values of your homes on the “low side.” After some investigation from the 2021 published audit, what he omits is that he has currently set the level of taxable values for low-income homes higher than ALL other homes in Pueblo County (ALL homes under $150,000 with a median ratio of .986). The following screenshot is taken directly from the 2021 Pueblo County Audit (on page 29):
In fact, in one neighborhood (group 135, below), the current Assessor has set the taxable values HIGHER than allowed under the audit standards set by the state of Colorado. The following screenshot is also taken directly from the 2021 Pueblo County audit (on page 26):
This Bessemer neighborhood (referred to as a “group” in the Audit) is south of Minnequa Avenue, west of I-25 and east of Lake Avenue as shown on the map below:
I've enlarged for your convenience:
This median ratio of 1.054, is 10% higher than required by the State Audit (which is 0.95), and 8.1% HIGHER than the "Overall" county median of 0.973. There are HUNDREDS of homes in this neighborhood that are being over-valued and as a result over-taxed. In the debate, the current Assessor referred to such savings as "nothing." Ask yourself, is a 10% savings "nothing" to you?
While the "overall" median level of value for the entire county (based on the 2021 audit) was 0.973, the current Assessor set the taxable values on all homes in the county about 2.3% higher than they needed to be. While 2.3% doesn’t sound like much, with the average value of a home in Pueblo County pushing $300,000, 2.3% is a lot. Would you go to the grocery and pay an extra 2.3%? While the county as a whole may “average” out, this goes to integrity.
Overvaluations are an issue and knowing of them but not correcting them is not enough anymore. These overvaluations could have been corrected before the final numbers were sent out. But they weren’t. As these reported findings clearly indicate, he is apparently not concerned about how these overvaluations affect Pueblo County citizens. With inflation at 40-year highs and no end in sight, as your next assessor I will not allow these overvaluations to stand “as is” when they affect hundreds of you. This could lead to possible foreclosures and potential tax sales. All valuations must be fair and equitable.
Here is a link to the 2021 audit so that you can verify all that I have said:
Is it difficult to reach the .95 mark?
The data on new values is submitted to the auditor the first of May. If they find a problem with the median ratio (either less than .95 or greater than 1.05) or the Coefficient of Dispersion (COD), they will tell the Assessor of this around the end of June. This gives 2 months to “tweak” the data and bring it into compliance so that you can "pass the audit."
Isn’t it worth a little bit of extra work in July/August to at least TRY to bring the values in as low as possible?
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog – I hope that you find it informative, and I look forward to your support and vote in November!