Drilling slowdown cuts assessed value of property by 7 percent

The assessed value of oil and gas development in Mesa County plummeted 70 percent this year compared to last year, a drop that likely will slice into the county’s 2011 budget.

County Assessor Barbara Brewer told commissioners Monday that the assessed value of oil and gas production fell from $224 million in 2009 to $66 million this year, a byproduct of the drilling slowdown.

The $158 million decline single-handedly accounted for the overall drop in the county’s assessed valuation this year.

The total taxable assessed value of real property in the county stands at $1.96 billion, a $153 million, or 7 percent, dip from last year.

“I wish it was a rosier picture, but it is what it is,” Commissioner Craig Meis said, noting the fact that the assessed value of all other property actually increased by $5 million this year demonstrates how much of an effect the energy industry has in the county.

The county’s 2010 assessed value of oil and gas production is the lowest since 2007. Brewer said she expects the value to hold steady or perhaps decline a little next year.

“Until we see a big upturn in oil and gas, I don’t know when we’ll ever get back to that 2009 $200 million range,” she said.

Meanwhile, a total of 1,267 taxpayers appealed the assessed value of their property, a higher-than-normal amount for a non-appraisal year, Brewer said.

Of those, 728 appeals were denied, 505 were adjusted, 26 were resolved with an explanation and eight were voided.

Brewer attributed the spike in appeals to the recession.

Many people cited the decline in the housing market in arguing for why their property values should have dropped, not realizing the valuations were based on the robust 2008 market, Brewer said.


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