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Adams County Assessor Insists Politics Plays No Role….

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Adams County assessor insists politics plays no role in his minimizing donors’ property taxes

Posted: 11/28/2010 01:00:00 AM MST
Updated: 11/28/2010 01:18:42 AM MST

 

Total donations: $2,800 in 2002 and 2006 Location of property: Luxury-home development near Riverdale Road overlooking South Platte River What happened: Taxable values of homes owned by Lloyd Land and his daughter have been unchanged since 2005, while neighbors’ homes grew $200,000 and $350,000 in taxable value. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post-)
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BRIGHTON — The Adams County assessor has slashed millions of dollars from the taxable value of properties owned by the largest contributors to his election campaigns, a Denver Post investigation found.

As a result, the county is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue each year on properties where records list Assessor Gil Reyes as the account manager who opted to “adjust” their values downward.

The review of assessments on properties owned by top contributors to Reyes’ campaigns found that his leading donor, a California-based warehouse company, has won reductions in taxable value totaling $23 million on 11 buildings. Those reductions saved the company more than $800,000 in property taxes this year

Total donations: $2,000 in 2002 and 2006 Location of property: East of Colorado Boulevard and south of Thornton Parkway What happened: Land was reclassified from residential to agricultural, reducing taxable value by 99 percent. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post-)

alone.The assessor’s office reduced values of vacant land owned by other contributors as much as 99 percent. It currently classifies a patch of asphalt and acres of weeds as qualifying for low “agricultural” rates.

And Reyes kept the values of custom homes owned by a leading contributor and his daughter unchanged since 2005, while their immediate neighbor — Colorado Rockies star Todd Helton — saw the taxable value of his house grow almost $350,000.

Reyes says campaign donations never influenced the decisions he made.

“I don’t care if they donated or didn’t donate. I don’t care if they’re Republicans or Democrats. I’m the assessor for Adams County,” he said. “Once you’re here, there is no politics.”

Nonetheless, he acknowledged that properties owned by some of his campaign supporters may be taxed at unjustifiably low rates. In some cases, his office is already moving to revoke agricultural-land classifications in response to questions from The Post.

“If we’re wrong,” Reyes said, “we’ll fix it.”

Read the entire article here….

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