In a Board of County Commissioners meeting on August 22, Grand County Assessor Tom Weydert presented the abstract of assessment, a culmination of valuations. Overall, the total of the valuations was up 1.2% even though Grand County took some substantial hits.“
It was kind of a like a perfect storm this year for Grand County,” concluded Assessor Weydert.
Assessor Weydert broke down the valuations in terms of classifications. (see table)
Henderson Mine and Mill
Significant decreases were shown in industrial and mining. Assessor Weydert commented that the vast majority of this was Henderson, also known as Climax and Freeport-McMoRan. The production numbers were a combination of the pricing of molybdenum, actual production numbers, and the averaging of three years from five years. This accounted for the nearly 60% decline in mining.
Last week, Henderson recently reported production will once again continue at the mine. A press release states, “In 2016, Henderson suspended further mine development of new mining areas in response to a deterioration in the molybdenum market in which molybdenum oxide prices had declined to less than $5 per pound. Additionally, Henderson reduced its annual production rates of molybdenum in late 2015 and early 2016 from 27 million pounds to 10 million pounds per year.” Due to continued production, the valuation in 2018 is expected to increase.
Taxing districts affected by Henderson’s decreased valuation are the Kremmling Memorial Hospital District, West Grand School District, Grand County Library District, Grand County EMS, Grand County, Colorado River Water Conservancy, and the Middle Park Water Conservancy. The West Grand School District will not be negatively impacted because of state equalization. The state will back-fill funds as necessary.
YMCA – Exempt properties
There was an increase in the exempt category, which is untaxed property. This growth was due to the final court decision that YMCA is a religious and charitable entity and taxexempt. Assessor Weydert explained the difficulty in reporting the lost revenue for the YMCA. “How can you take into account the lost revenue for a Supreme Court decision that has been going on for the last 12 years? It is not really an abatement, it is lost revenue…. It was an extraordinary situation.”
The YMCA decision resulted in seven Grand County taxing authorities repaying collected taxes and interest back to the YMCA. The Grand County Library District, Middle Park Water Conservancy, Grand County, Fraser Valley Metro Recreation, East Grand School, East Grand Fire, and the Colorado Water Conservancy. In June, the YMCA donated 50% of the $1,166,418 back to these entities proportionately. This is considered a donation and not a recoupment.
To recoup losses each entity still has the option for a one-time mill-levy that will be passed on to taxpayers. This mostly affects the east end of the county, but could affect taxpayers on the west end if Grand County, the Grand County Library District, and the two water Conservancies opt for the onetime mill-levy. Taxpayers could see an increase in their 2018 taxes. At this time, none of the taxing districts affected by the YMCA ruling have declared that they will seek recoupment. They will have to declare by December 15.
The Gallagher Amendment also played a role in the lack of growth for the residential category. The residential assessment rate dropped from 7.9 to 7.2. Most years, Gallagher doesn’t come into play. If commercial values and home values rise at a similar pace, there is no need for an adjustment; however, residential outpaced commercial properties in Grand County.