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Broomfield assessor dispels local property tax misconceptions

A local assessor is on a campaign to educate Broomfield residents about property taxes and appraisals.
Jay Yamashita is working to educate Broomfield residents about property appraisals.

Assessor Jay Yamashita is dedicating his time to dispelling misconceptions about Broomfield property taxes and his team’s role in the community.

Yamashita worked with the city and county to post a video that explains how property assessments work, and outlines aspects of appraisals that are sometimes misunderstood.

“If I can explain and teach as many people as possible about what we do, it will make all of my appraisers’ jobs that much easier. So that’s the biggest thing that I’m trying to push — education,” Yamashita said. “I don’t have a problem coming and talking to your HOA so that I can get the word out and explain what we do and how we do it.”

One of the biggest misconceptions is that assessors set tax rates and chase tax dollars, he explained. 

“Some residents think that the whole tax bill comes to us,” Yamashita said. 

Assessors only determine the value of a property and make sure that value is equitable. That value is then used by the city and county, school districts and other tax authorities to set the tax rate to ensure adequate revenue. The mill levy is the tax rate that’s applied to the assessed value of a property, and that rate is used to cover Broomfield’s annual expenses.

“The city and county of Broomfield has not raised the mill levy since we became a county in 2001,” Yamashita explained.

Another common misconception is that assessors make up their own rules, he said.

“The requirements are done by statute, and we are also audited by a third party auditor hired by the state,” Yamashita explained. “We are under the microscope more than anybody when it comes to looking at our numbers and making sure that we are in compliance.”

Broomfield properties are re-valued every odd-numbered year, he said.

“We’re looking at an analysis of July 1 from 2020 through June 30, 2022, to set values for 2023 and 2024,” Yamashita said. “That data collection period is what we use to set values in their neighborhoods.”

To determine how much a property is worth, an assessor looks at similar properties that have sold in the same area.

“Neighborhoods are broken down by filing in the subdivisions, so we are really doing apples to apples comparisons — we are not going outside of a particular neighborhood to look for sales,” he explained.

Yamashita and his team received a lower number of appeals in 2021 than expected, he said.

“We are very fortunate that we live in Broomfield, because the residents try and educate themselves a lot,” Yamashita said. 

“I think that’s what cuts down on our appeals that we do receive, is that we do have very knowledgeable residents, and they understand some of the processes that go into that.”