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Costilla County residents worry massive property tax jump will leave them homeless

Why Costilla County residents worry about massive property tax jump
Why Costilla County residents worry about massive property tax jump 03:10

Like a lot of Coloradans, residents of Costilla County balked at the changes to their property values because of what it means for their property taxes. Higher values, higher taxes. The county assessor is in charge of determining that value, but the values that people are getting back don't make much sense to them right now. 

Whether you are Joe C. Rodriguez who has lived in southern Colorado for 79 years, or Tom Philips who moved out there in 2021 for his retirement home, it's the same problem across the board. They both got increased values out of what they expected (even accounting for property value increases post-COVID). When they challenged that number, they both had their new, higher value raised even higher instead of lower. Joe's went from $207,000 up to $382,000. 

"My house is not worth that, it will never be worth that," Joe said. 

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Tom saw his new home went on the market for $375,000, then the sellers bumped it up to $400,000...but it never sold. He pulled the trigger in 2021 when it dropped back down to $250,000.


His assessment from the Costilla County Assessor came back as $425,879. He appealed, and the value jumped up to $495,000.

"It feels punitive," Tom said, referencing the increases after challenges. 

RELATED: Many Douglas County homeowners fighting for relief after huge spike in property valuations

The county scheduled wall-to-wall meetings Wednesday and Thursday with disgruntled residents trying to figure out what they believed to be mistakes in their assessments, and in several cases, the county assessor's office admitted they didn't have all the information before sending out values, hence why the numbers change so much.

Both Tom and Joe are now looking for new solutions to fight what they feel is a major mistake. They're looking to the state government to address the issues down at the county office, and Tom is starting a recall petition for the county assessor. Both are hoping their values can be adjusted to something more reasonable. 

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