Every property owner in Castle Rock has been mailed a Notice of Valuation, informing them of the historic increase in their property’s assessed value resulting from this year’s reappraisal. These notices reflected valuation increases of 30% to 60% for residential properties across Douglas County, according to information from the County Assessor’s Office.
For some property-taxing entities, these increases in valuation mean a substantial revenue increase. That is not the case, however, for the Town of Castle Rock.
Regardless of the increases in property valuation in Castle Rock, the Town’s property tax revenue next year will only increase by about $75,000. That is because the Town Charter – our constitution, of sorts – contains “limitations on future general property taxes,” which limit the Town’s property tax to the amount of revenue levied in the previous year, plus 5.5%.
The Town is expecting roughly $1.5 million in property tax revenue this year, and 5.5% of $1.5 million is $75,000. So, that is the total amount of property tax revenue growth the Town is allowed in 2024. By comparison, the Town’s total 2023 budget is slightly over $315 million. Other property-taxing entities are not bound to this revenue restriction, including Douglas County School District, Douglas County, Douglas County Libraries and neighborhood-specific metropolitan districts, which include many areas.
You might be wondering what all of this means to you, as a homeowner. One of the easiest ways to determine that is to visit douglas.co.us/assessor and enter your address into the search. Pull up the details for your property, and you’ll see “Tax Authorities” a few rows from the bottom of the page. Open that menu, and you’ll find a breakdown of your total estimated 2023 property tax, which will be due in 2024.
The average homeowner in Castle Rock will see roughly $50 as the amount owed to the Town of Castle Rock. This estimate, however, does not take into account the revenue restriction outlined above. Once the Town factors that in at the end of this year – in other words, lowers its mill levy so that its property tax revenue does not grow by more than 5.5% – this $50 will decrease to somewhere closer to $40.
That will be the amount the average homeowner — whose house is now valued at about $667,000, per County data — will pay the Town next year in exchange for fire, police, parks and general government services. Because the Town’s property tax is so low — the lowest among any full-service Front Range municipality — the Town relies on sales tax revenue to fund the bulk of its core services.
The Town’s property tax mill levy in 1991 was 19.893. Since that time, it has held steady or decreased each year, to 2023’s 1.139 — a 94% reduction. The rate will decrease healthily again for next year, as a result of the reassessment and the revenue restriction. Stay tuned to the Town’s upcoming 2024 budget process for details.
David L. Corliss is the town manager of Castle Rock