Denver Direct: Rigged

Friday, October 17, 2008


Once again I want to thank Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz for her responsiveness (same day!) to my questions and for getting to the heart of the matter in the meeting of the Finance Committee on Oct 15 (and thanks again to Channel 8 for televising it). I think I now understand exactly what is going on at the Assessor’s office and why foreclosures won’t lower the City’s property tax revenue.

I may now understand it, but I still don’t like it. You can educate yourself by watching the video at Denver Channel 8 online (click on the Oct 15 video). It starts at about 52 minutes and lasts about an hour. Denver IS different. (Councilwoman Faatz also provided me with the PowerPoint presentation from which the following is drawn.) Here is the answer:

If I understand this correctly, those foreclosed upon houses on your block will not lower your assessed value (although they are decimating your potential resale value) because they are systematically excluded.

I originally asked this question because a friend bought a bank-owned property for $35,000 that had been previously assessed at $161,000. Silly me, I thought this would mean that the property tax would reset to the new lower value. But I guess not.

This means that if, like me, you are currently stuck with an assessed value on your home which was set during the real estate frenzy at an unrealistically high value, your only hope is to appeal after January 1, 2009. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m even going to get one of those lawyers who specialize in this. I’ll let you know how it comes out.

Here is the entire slide presentation:

So, just as I learned that the toxic water filling Grasmere Lake in City Park is rigged by Regulation 31, I now learn that the property tax system is rigged to allow foreclosed properties to be excluded when computing your tax.

Aaarghhh! Everything is rigged. My head is exploding!