Q&A: Property Taxes

Property valuation is just one piece of how property taxes are calculated

May, 2023

Now that the Pitkin County Assessor has released property valuations, will I have to pay higher property taxes?

Not necessarily. An individual’s property tax bill does not necessarily correlate to the total increase in valuations or an increase in individual property valuation because:

  • It is calculated as a share of the total community tax
  • Each property is valued independently and differently
  • Each property location has different taxing entities
  • Each taxing entity has different methods of calculating their tax rate and may be subject to restrictions.

Remember, property taxes will not be known until January 2024.

So, I won’t know what my property tax bill will be until January of 2024?

That’s correct. Property tax notices are prepared and sent to county property owners by the County Treasurer after January 10, 2024.

Property valuations and taxes calendar:


What determines how much my property taxes will be?


The value of your property is just one component of the property tax calculation. The assessment rate and tax rate have to be applied. The assessment rate is determined by the state. The tax rate, also know as the mill levy, is determined by your local taxing entities. Each taxing entity works through the process in the above calendar from August to December. They determine what their budget will be and the tax rate (mill levy) needed. Different restrictions may or may not apply on the amount of property tax which they can collect which can change the tax rate.  

For Pitkin County, the Commissioners (BOCC) decide what services need to be funded through their budget process and the amount of tax needed to cover community services. The Pitkin County Finance department calculates the needed mill levy and restrictions to be applied. In Pitkin County’s case there are restrictions on the following County funds – General, Road and Bridge, Human Services, Translator, Healthy Community and Library. In all but one the county is limited to an increase of no more than 5.5% or inflation, whichever is lower. This year we expect the 5.5% to apply.  This means the property tax increase for these funds will not exceed 5.5%. For those funds which are not restricted – Open Space and Trails and Ambulance District, the BOCC also has the ability to certify a refund in the form of a temporary property tax credit or temporary mill levy rate reduction. Decisions on these refunds will be made during the budget process in the fall of 2023.

Remember Pitkin County itself is only one of a number of taxing entities to whom you pay property tax. You can see which entities you pay property tax to by looking at your account on the Treasurer’s web page.


Property tax: A share of the total tax on a community

  • A property tax is a tax on the community or district as a whole
  • The value of your property is used to determine your share of the tax
  • Some property values may go up, some may go down or stay flat. Yours may be different from others.
  • Property value alone does not determine your tax - rather, it determines your share of the tax on the whole community.
  • Property taxes are designed to share the cost of government services across the community.

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