Property owners in Pueblo may have a refund coming their way.
The following information was sent out by District 60 Pueblo City Schools on Friday:
Pueblo City Schools (PCS) will be refunding a portion of property taxes collected in 2011 to property owners beginning January 2012.
The refund will be made by a temporary rate reduction on taxes that will be due in 2012.
As the result of an adjustment to assessed valuations in Pueblo in a prior year (2008), Pueblo County reported an abatement of taxes to Pueblo City Schools in 2010. Pueblo City Schools is collecting approximately $1.3m in taxes in 2011 based upon that, but has since determined that amount should be credited back to tax payers in 2012.
Each year the district is notified of the County’s assessed valuation and abatements as certified by the County Assessor and County Treasurer. The district is required by law to certify its mill levies based upon these figures provided by the County. The district is then further obligated by statute that it ‘…shall add an amount equal to the proportional share of the total amount of abatements…’ to the mill levies for the tax revenues to be collected for the district.
An estimated assessed value was assigned to a new addition for St. Mary-Corwin hospital in 2008 which had the unintended consequence of resulting in a reported tax abatement (an under collection of taxes) from the County to Pueblo City Schools of approximately $1.3m in 2010. This abatement is then required by Colorado law to be collected in the following year. So by law, the district was required to levy and collect this abatement amount, $1.3m in this case, from property owners beginning with the January 2011 tax statements.
In mid-January the district finance office requested additional information regarding the abatement on the mill levy certification of assessed valuation from the County Assessor. Since then, further research by the district, in cooperation with the County Assessor, has affirmed that the abatement amount was overstated on the County certification.
The district will therefore return the amount of taxes collected due to the overstatement. It will be returning the over collected taxes to the Pueblo tax payers in the form of a ‘temporary rate reduction’ which will be reflected in the property tax statements in early 2012.
“The district feels that the assessed valuation adjustment made in 2008 had an unforeseen result in the district over collecting taxes now. We recognize that the district is not entitled to this money and will return 100% of the $1.3m to the tax payers”, said Stephanie Garcia, president of the PCS Board of Education. This will be about $13 for each $100,000 of assessed value.
As required by law the district will collect the money in 2011 and pay it back via a one-year reduction in the taxes collected in 2012 to offset the over collection. The $1.3m will not impact the district budget, as it will be held separately and returned to tax payers by a reduction in taxes next year.