Category: Government

Estes Park Property Values Soar To New Highs

Median home values for Estes Park have risen 23% since 2017, and this is in line with home values continuing their climb across the state.

In fact, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Home Price Index, Denver has seen the steepest increases of any city in the country since the economic meltdown of 2008. If you’re selling, it’s great news. But if you’re not, well, it’s complicated.

Iolanthe Culjak’s Estes Park condo assessment went up by a whopping 36% and although she loves her home, she’s astonished at the meteoric ascent in its value.

“On the one hand it’s good news. If you want to borrow against it, you have value, but if you want to stay instead of sell, it’s a shocker to see the tax burden increase this way,” Culjak said. Asked if the increase in taxes would be a burden on her financially, she said no, “not for me, but if you’re an older person on a fixed income I can see how it could be.”

Bob Overbeck, the Larimer County Assessor, has heard a lot of these concerns lately, and says his office is here to help. He said there are many programs in place to help those to whom a property tax increase, would be a financial burden. There’s a “senior homeowner’s exemption”, and something called a “work off program,” he said, which allows homeowners to work at the county fair in exchange for up to $400 in tax relief.
But why, wondered Culjak, was the increase so high this time, compared to years past?

Overbeck said there are a lot of things that can push up the value. Things like, what comparable homes in your neighborhood have sold for or the location.

“Estes Park is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park and amazing, pristine wilderness,” Overbeck said. “[And] Estes has 700 short-term rentals, which takes away from affordable housing, tightening supply and increasing values,” he said.

Even the view from your front deck could have an effect.

“There’s value based on viewshed in Estes,” Overbeck said. “If you have a great view, the value goes up.”

In coming up with the actual numbers, the assessor’s office looked at all of the relevant data from July 1, 2016 through June 20, 2018, which they refer to as the “study period.”

That data is then fed into a computer assisted mass appraisal system, which calculates the value of your property. Much of that data is available on the Larimer County website.

“We’re trying to be as transparent as possible,” Overbeck said. “There’s a great tool on the website called an “interactive value change map” that allows you to click on any building on the map to see the valuation, neighborhood comps, sale prices, square footage and more. There’s also information on exemptions and how to protest your valuation.”

If all of this, or the numbers on the little card you received in the mail has you feeling a bit overwhelmed, fear not. Overbeck said his office wants to work with property owners if they think the value they were assessed is off.

“You have the right to protest your notice of value if you believe it’s too high or too low,” Overbeck said. “People’s homes are like members of the family. You must talk about them with care and sensitivity especially when assessing their value.”

If you wish to protest your assessed valuation, you can do so in several different ways, including filling out a section on the appraisal card you received in the mail, starting your protest on the Larimer County website, or kicking it old-school by walking into the assessor’s office to handle it in person.

Overbeck encourages those wishing to protest or appeal their appraisal to bring in supporting documents, photos and other relevant materials that may help you make your case.

Finally, Overbeck wanted to stress that “for the last few months that I have been documenting our processes and systems in regards to the 2019 property valuations. Later in the year there will be a review of these procedures and processes with adjustments being made pending results if necessary.”

The deadline for protest or appeal of your 2019 property valuation is June 3.

Larimer County Assessor’s Office to Offer Assistance in Loveland

The Assessor’s Office of Larimer County will offer a one-week assistance station in Loveland to help residents in the southern part of the county

The station will be set up May 6-10 at the Loveland Campus Building at 200 Peridot Avenue in Loveland, in the Glacier Creek Room (Room 209, second floor).

Any property owner can drop off a Notice of Value protest form, get help on appeal or ask questions, according to a press release.

No appraisers will be present at the Loveland site, but appraisers will be available at Office of the Assessor in Fort Collins, 200 W. Oak St., from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, May 1-June 3.

For details, visit

Larimer County Assessor: Bob Overbeck

Website URL:

Age: 55

How long in Larimer County: 17 years

Family: Blessed to share life with the love of my life, four kids 9 to 20, one Labrador and four cats.

Work experience: Have been a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) and a member of the National Futures Association since 1983. I have spent my career ensuring accuracy and advocating for fairness, transparency and accountability in government. Started education on the trading floor as a runner in the Chicago Mercantile exchange, completed a degree in business administration, then moved on to be a floor broker and trader on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Board of Trade and Minneapolis Grain Exchange. I understand the value of our dollars.

Community involvement: Current Fort Collins City Council member.

Is there anything voters should know about the Assessor position and how you would approach it?
It is the responsibility of the county assessors to accurately evaluate property for the purpose of assessing and collecting property taxes. I am running for county assessor to ensure that property valuations are done right the first time, no one pays more than their fair share in taxes, and the office of the assessor upholds the level of transparency, accuracy and accountability that taxpayers deserve.

What impact do you think Amendment 73 would have on county homeowners and revenues?
According to the amendment language, Amendment 73 would lower and freeze residential and commercial property tax assessments for the K-12 education portion of your property taxes. The Colorado legislative council has said that this will have no impact for the county or other special districts. This is a question that is left up to the voters to decide, because it is their role to tell us where and how they want their dollars to be spent. In my role as assessor, I will ensure that property valuations are done right the first time, no one pays more than their fair share in taxes, and the office of the assessor upholds the level of transparency, accuracy and accountability that taxpayers deserve. The process must improve and that’s my singular focus.

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Fort Collins Wins Coveted Presidential Award For Performance Excellence

The city of Fort Collins has won the national Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award for performance excellence, realizing its multiyear pursuit of the presidential award.

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced the winners Thursday.

Fort Collins was the only city to receive the award, and is the only the third city to win in the award’s history. Other recipients were Bristol Tennessee Essential Services, Stellar Solutions of Palo Alto, California, Castle Medical Center in Hawaii and Southcentral Foundation, in the health-care sector in Anchorage, Alaska.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross called City Manager Darin Atteberry to tell him personally about the award. Several city employees gathered in City Council chambers to get the news from Mayor Wade Troxell and other council members.

 “It is a great privilege to serve this community, and I look forward to continuing our excellence journey,” Atteberry said. “I am overflowing with gratitude for the Fort Collins community that aspires to a high-performing local government and innovative government.”

For now, the city will take a pause and celebrate and “appreciate each other and the community and the whole team,” Atteberry said.

He equated the feeling to football teams winning the Super Bowl and popping the champagne in the locker room. “Some people go home and watch game tapes and get up and go to practice. I just want to get on the field again with the team.”

The city will receive the examiners’ feedback report in December. “Getting the report and continuously improving is the mantra,” Atteberry said.

Fort Collins began applying for the Baldrige Award on the state level in 2011 and achieved its highest state level in 2014, allowing it to apply for the national Baldrige Award in 2015.

The award is given by the president to organizations that are outstanding in leadership, strategy, customers, measurement, analysis, knowledge management, workforce, operations and results.

The city has paid about $100,000 in each of the past two years pursuing the award, money it says is well worth the improvements and efficiency that have resulted from the 500 to 1,000 hours of scrutiny it gets from Baldrige examiners.

Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies won a Baldrige Award in 2008 after eight years of trying. Boulder-based Elevations Credit Union was a recipient in 2014.

Fort Collins was among 14 finalists for the award.

“Fort Collins is a wonderful community in many ways including having a high performing city government,” Mayor Wade Troxell said in the city’s press release announcing the award. “Achieving performance excellence helps us provide world class municipal services through operational excellence and a culture of innovation. Our citizens and businesses are the inspiration behind this pursuit.”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said “when companies implement the ground-tested Baldrige approach, they create organizations that employees and customers love, that continually improve and that produce innovative and outstanding results.”

The Baldrige committee said Fort Collins has a Aaa credit rating and ranks in the top 10 percent of cities nationally as a place to live and work, and for quality of culture and recreation, job opportunities, air quality and attractiveness. It ranks in the top 1 percent for drinking water quality and emergency preparedness.

The 2017 Baldrige Awards will be presented in April at the Baldrige Program’s 30th annual Quest for Excellence conference in Baltimore. It is customary for the president to present the awards, although Vice-President Joseph Biden presented the award to PVH.