Garfield Re2 Mill Levy Correction

What does the Garfield Re-2 Mill Levy Correction mean to taxpayers?
Posted on 12/17/2021
This is the image for the news article titled What does the Garfield Re-2 Mill Levy Correction mean to taxpayers?School Districts across the state find themselves in a quandary. One hundred and twenty-seven Colorado school districts, including Garfield Re-2, must increase their total programming mill levy despite no recent election approving them to do so.

Total Program is a term used to describe the total amount of money each school district receives per pupil under the School Finance Act. 

The good news is that taxpayers in Garfield Re-2 will pay no more than a one-mill increase, from 4.7 to 5.7 mills, on their property tax bills for the 2022 tax year related to Total Program funding. The bad news is that additional one-mill increases must happen for the next 11 years to reach the state-required total program target mill of 16.282.

This increase IS NOT additional funding that will come to Garfield Re-2.  It is a correction to adjust the local share of total program funding for education to the amount that is legally required by state statutes and the State Constitution. Total program funds are different from any voter-approved mill levy override or bond. School Boards cannot adjust Total Program mills, they only certify the rates that are set by the State.

The Legislature recently passed two bills that are driving this change - HB20-1418 and HB21-1164. This legislation also puts tax credits in place to phase in the adjustment. The 2021 tax credit was 11.582.  For tax year 2022, the tax credit decreases to 10.582, and Garfield Re-2’s mill levy will increase to 5.7.  The district must increase the mill levy and reduce the tax credit by no more than one mill per year until the target of 16.282 mills is reached in 11 years. 

What does it mean for property taxpayers in Garfield Re-2?
The current estimated assessed value rate for Colorado homes is 7.15%. That means if your home is valued at $100,000, the taxed value would be $7,150.  This value is multiplied by the mill rate to calculate total property taxes for each taxing entity.  The 2021 Garfield Re-2 total program mill was $7,150 x .0047 or $33.60 per $100,000. The increase from 2021 to 2022 would be $7,150 x .0057 or approximately $40.76 - a difference of about $7.16 per $100,000 of property value.

Over the next 11 years, the total program line for Garfield Re-2 will increase from 4.7 mills in 2021 (approximately $33.60) to 16.282 mills (approximately $116.42) per $100,000 of assessed valuation.

How did this happen?
The legislation discussed above was necessary to correct a decades old mis-interpretation by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). The Taxpayers Bill of Rights or TABOR was passed in 1992 and limits the amount of tax revenue the state and governmental entities can retain and spend. School Districts and other governmental agencies were able to ask the voters to “de-TABOR.”

Garfield Re-2 voters “de-TABORED” in 1998 allowing the District to maintain the higher mill levy rate, however, CDE and others interpreted state statutes to say that “de-TABORed” districts should reduce their local property tax. Legal interpretation now concludes that property taxes should never have been reduced.

Garfield Re-2 staff will host a zoom meeting on January 19, 2022, at 6 p.m. as well as share with additional community groups and meetings to provide further explanation and answer questions. The zoom link will be posted at www.garfieldre2.net under the calendar event.
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