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Letter to the Editor: Confiscatory taxation in Alamosa County

Posted: Friday, Nov 30th, 2012

A sincere “Thank You” for the recent news coverage about the court actions between myself and Alamosa County officials which will allow the public to know more about how our local government is operating. To recap, Judge Michael Gonzales first issued the recent injunction which prohibits me from living in my motor home on my own property at Deer Valley Meadows, because I was using it as a residence in violation of Alamosa county land use law. Then the same judge is quoted in your news story of the 29th ruling there is no evidence supporting my claim seeking to get the residential tax assessment rate for the same property! So the county first sues me for living on my own property, then refuses to give me the residential tax rate which is 7.9 percent of assessed value, but instead uses the vacant land tax rate of 29 percent! This makes my yearly property taxes on my one and a quarter acre about $124 because assessor Sandra Hostetter established the vacant land in Deer Valley subdivision Units One and Two at a value of $5,500 each. I have it listed with a local realtor for $4,350 and it is not selling—possibly because I only paid $850 for it in 2004 and feel that was excessive! So I have quit paying the property taxes, since I will get to live there for a few more years till it is sold at tax lien sale to someone who wants it, and I will lose my $850 investment.

The assessor has discretion to find that one real property is different from other properties in a given area, but she refused to lower my property value even though it can be distinguished from other lots because mine is not close to electricity. She likewise refused to increase the value of my property when I drilled a water well on the property, which should have made it worth more as I was asking the court to find this year. I have appealed her decision nearly every year since 2005 and did win a reduction one year from the Board of Assessment Appeals in Denver, but this year I was not able to be present in person to have a court trial so the judge ruled against me. I do not fault the judge as much as Sandra Hostetter who should be replaced as county assessor since she is using her position in government to increase local tax revenue to the benefit of the county commissioners and the school system, by artificially increasing vacant land rates since she took office. If she has increased your property taxes also, then please try and find someone to run against her in the next election—she was unopposed in the last election.


Leon Moyer


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