Mesa County landowners started receiving their property tax bills this week that reflect a reduction in what they owe.
That’s because the bills reflect the $5.1 million the county had to pay back to residents from the surplus money it collected under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
“Mesa County property tax bills are arriving in mailboxes this week,” said Mesa County Treasurer Sheila Reiner. “They come to you with a new look and a special message about the mill levy credit you are receiving as a result of a TABOR refund.”
Last year, the Board of County Commissioners considered different options to paying that refund other than through property taxes. That was because much of it actually was generated from increased sales taxes.
But in the end, the commissioners determined that trying to refund it through something like a sales tax holiday would have placed too great a burden on businesses, which are responsible for collecting that tax.
While the TABOR amendment is specific about how much governments can collect in revenue, it is silent on how to refund excess money. As a result, governments have a wide range of refund options, the most popular of which is through property taxes.
Using the property tax method, however, means that about 36% of the money is going to out-of-county property owners, many of which are oil and gas companies.
As far as the tax bills go, Reiner said that if a property is under a mortgage, the statement is for informational purposes only.
For those that are not, property owners have the option of paying it all by April 30, or in two installments, half by Feb. 29 and the other half by June 15.
Property owners also can access their statements online at appz.mesacounty.us/treasurer/treasurerweb/search.jsp, Reiner said. Landowners also can pay their bills on that website.