The operators of Wellington Lake say $100,000 tax bill from Jefferson County is akin to a 2,700% increase

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From The Fairplay Flume (Mike Potter):

In a May 25 press release, the company said that “the Jefferson County Assessor advised Wellington that due to the recreation and camping uses that Wellington permitted at the Lake, the tax assessment would be increased by 2,700%.” The tax bill went from about $3,7000 per year to $100,000 per year.

However, Jefferson County Assessor Jim Everson told The Flume on May 31 that the tax increase is not related to the use of the lake for recreational or camping purposes…

“The Wellington Company is evaluating the effects of the County’s denial of public access as a pre-existing lawful use and the very substantial new concern with the unprecedented tax increase,” said the May 25 press release. “Until these matters are resolved, Wellington intends to continue to allow limited access for youth groups; but will not be able to re-open the Lake to general public access without the approval of the Jefferson County Planning and Zoning authority and resolution of the tax assessment.”[…]

“The big change, I think that you’re experiencing there, is that a lot of the property in there had been inappropriately classified as exempt property,” he said. Colorado law allows for reservoirs and surrounding property that supports the operation of the reservoir to be tax-exempt if the water is used for agricultural purposes. According to the May 25 press release, the water in Wellington Lake is used for irrigation of lands and for municipal use in the northern Denver metropolitan area. “Really, there’s a lot of land there that’s far removed from the reservoir itself, and it never really was appropriate for exemption because it simply wasn’t used as part of the reservoir operation,” Everson said.

More South Platte River basin coverage here.

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