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Property Tax Bills Surprise Many Colorado Homeowners

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)- Many homeowners in northern Colorado are surprised to see how much they have to pay their local government this year when it comes to property taxes.

Even though home values have dropped for many, property taxes are based on previous years before the economy dipped.

That means property taxes have gone up, even though the home may be worth less now.

“This is the value from June 30, 2008. Back from when we didn’t know how good things were, but they were a lot better than they are now,” said Larimer County Assessor Steve Miller.

On average, homes in Larimer County are worth 2 to 3 percent less than they were in the last assessment back in June 2008. Values were reassessed June 30, 2010, but that’s for next year’s tax bill.

“In a rising market our values are going to lag the market. But over time it averages out,” said Miller. “But that doesn’t help anybody today because in a lousy economy, if it comes down to giving the county an extra $100 which you don’t really think the county really deserves, or keeping it for yourself and spending it on whatever, then that’s an easy choice for people to make.”

When homeowners get their tax bills in the coming days, there’s not much to do.

“We’ve already had two protest periods, 2009 and 2010. So it’s just a little late. You can call in and vent, but there’s really not a lot we’re going to be able to do about it,” said Miller.

In May, homeowners will get a notice with the new “level of value” based on assessments taken last summer. Homeowners will have a chance to protest before your 2012 property tax bill arrives.

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