By Bob Overbeck, Larimer County Assessor,
Working to maintain high appraisal standards, a longer period of market sales data, and improving best practices were a few of the recommendations from an independent review by Thimgan & Associates of La Junta, Colorado for the Larimer County Assessor’s Office.
Larimer County Assessor Bob Overbeck hired the outside firm to get a fresh, independent view of the processes in the Assessor’s Office and where improvements could be made. The nearly 50-page review took five months to complete.
Overbeck selected Thimgan & Associates because of their over 30 years of experience in 42 states and extensive work in commercial, vacant land, and residential assessment value modeling in Colorado.
While the Assessor’s Office fully complied with standards set by the State of Colorado in 2019, and also passed the State of Colorado audit, the new findings will help the Assessor’s Office chart a path for more straight-forward property value assessments while also enhancing office performance.
Improved office processes, valuation methods, data collection, and fine-tuning the modeling process for assessments were also noted, as well as developing new valuation models that use nationally recognized methods and software to reduce property assessment appeals in the future.
The audit suggested using a minimum of five years of market sales data for appraisal instead of only two years which was used in 2019. Enhanced use of Geographic Information Systems in the assessment process coupled with a more proactive public outreach for the appeal process were also recommended as well as increased staff training in GIS systems.
“I’m committed to listening to taxpayers’ feedback, using the consultant recommendations to enhance the office performance for fair and equitable valuations,” said Larimer County Assessor Bob Overbeck.
The review also complimented the staffs’ hard work and recommended beginning the valuation process no later than July of the year before Notices of Valuations are due.
Other observations included identifying properties for additional review and refinement to ensure equitable valuations on groups of parcels.
The Thimgan & Associates audit can be viewed at https://www.larimer.org/assessor.