For assessment and tax purposes, the state government considers comparatively low property tax assessments for producing ag lands in Colorado to be "a significant tax break," not a recognition of the essential value of ag production to society nor as a recognition of the difficulties and uncertainties faced by ag producers.
The county assessor explained the state's view to ag producers who protested their property tax valuations this year at Board of Equalization hearings last month.
Property owners with producing ag lands objected to the state's method of valuing productive value of land because it uses a macro formula using national commodity prices, not local market conditions. Some producing local ag property has increased rapidly in value due to high commodity prices nationally and the state-mandated formula for calculating value based on them, as explained by county assessor Debbie Griffith.
The ag land values in Delta County have increased too rapidly and are outstripping their actual productive value, said producers Roger Bentley and Dennis McCary, who both have farm ground in Peach Valley.
Bentley said, "Delta County has been depressed since 2008. Values have crept up and crept up and now they've taken a major leap. Land values have arbitrarily increased."
Griffith countered that that according to the state's formula Bentley's 340 acres are properly assessed.
The Board of County commissioners on Aug. 5, sitting the Board of Equalization to rule on property tax valuation disputes with the county assessor, followed the county hearing officer's recommendation in each of the 13 protest cases this year and denied all but one.
The one taxpayer who received a requested lower valuation, McCary, convinced officials that his property was described and classified improperly.
The county's hearing officer who made the recommendations to the BoCC is a retired real estate appraiser with the state who lives in Grand Junction.
In other business at its Aug. 5 regular meeting, the Board of County Commissioners dealt with the following matters:
• The county will save some money after accepting a new and lower bid for hauling trash dumpsters from the North Fork transfer station to the landfill.
The bid covers dumpsters used for landfill waste, not those used for the county's pilot recycling program.
Annaed's Roll Off Service of Olathe will save the county $1,215 per month in charges over the bid offered by one other contractor. Bids were factored on 13 hauls per month and normally the job requires from six to 16 hauls per month, commissioners were told. The county commissioners accepted the bid at their Aug. 5 meeting.
In addition, the bid includes use of two of the big roll off trash containers employed at the North Fork station. They will rent monthly for $75 each. The county was looking at replacement of at least one of the 40-cubic-yard dumpsters at a cost of $7,000 to $8,000, commissioners were told.
• Commissioners heard a report from the Blake Field managers of increased airport business by a local company in the mining industry that is using a twin turboprop Conquest to ferry workers to work sites in Mexico. The workers are leaving vehicles parked at the airport during work time away making the airport look busier than it normally would, commissioners were told.
• The commissioners approved a professional services agreement with a consultant for evaluation of needed roof repairs to the county jail and sheriff's office building.
• The BoCC ratified signatures on a letter to Collin Ewing, manager of the Dominguez-Escalante NCA and wilderness, requesting an extension in the public comment period on the Draft Resource Management Plan. The BLM notified the DCI on Aug. 6 that the comment period deadline would be extended from Aug. 22 to Sept. 23.
• Commissioners reviewed and gave preliminary approval to grant and contract agreements that will fund a new Blake Field airport master plan. The total amount of the grant package is $168,330, reported the county engineering department. The funds come from the Federal Aviation Administration and CDOT. The county matching cash for the deal is $12,900, it was reported.blog comments powered by Disqus