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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ryan Mahoney, Town Manager, 970-927-4701
BASALT—Basalt’s Town Council on Tuesday approved a resolution for a November 2019 ballot question to set the Town’s property tax rate at 5.957 mills. The mill levy rate is used to calculate taxes on the Town’s residential, commercial and other properties. The ballot question is the culmination of months of work to research and resolve a potential violation in how the Town previously adjusted its mill levy rate. Adjustments of tax rates are limited by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR).
“The Town of Basalt has worked to resolve this error and restore confidence and accountability in our fiscal management,” said Mayor Jacque Whitsitt. “When this error was brought to Council’s attention, we immediately engaged the community and sought their input and support to find a solution. Our Number 1 goal is to be transparent about this issue.”
Town staff discovered the error while preparing the 2019 budget and quickly brought it to the attention of Council. The Town notified the community and then engaged several of Colorado’s top TABOR experts to understand how to legally resolve this issue with minimal impact to the Town and its residents.
Tuesday’s ballot question referral is the second step of two actions set forth by Council to resolve this error. Town Council earlier this month gave final approval to refund over-collected property taxes at a cost of $2.16 million. Refunds will be issued to current property owners for the amount of over-collected property taxes during the last four years. TABOR contains a four-year statute of limitations, meaning the Town should refund the past four years of over-collected property taxes. The Town of Basalt is planning to send refund checks in October.
The mill levy ballot question would set the Town’s property tax rate at its current rate of 5.957, which is necessary to maintain Town services such as public safety and police services; fire and flood mitigation; road maintenance, sidewalk repairs, street plowing and sweeping; park maintenance; and recreational programs.
“We look forward to resolving this issue and continuing to ensure that our Town’s budget and finances are accountable and transparent for all community members,” said Town Manager Ryan Mahoney. “This TABOR issue has provided the Town with several opportunities to engage with our taxpayers and to communicate about the Town’s budget and how Basalt operates. Moving forward, we will continue to operate the Town’s fiscal management and services with the same level of accountability and transparency that we have used through this process.”