The Fort Collins Coloradoan recently pointed out that a "diverse" panel appointed by Governor Bill Ritter recommends raising property taxes as one way to resolve the state's ongoing budget problems. But in Adams County, hundreds of thousands of dollars in legitimate property-tax revenues may have been under-collected, reports The Denver Post in an investigation of the county's assessor, Gil Reyes, who adjusted property values downward for some of the biggest contributors to his election campaigns.
In one case, the values of homes owned by a leading contributor and Reyes' daughter had remained unchanged since 2005, but their immediate neighbor, Colorado Rockies slugger Todd Helton, saw the taxable value of his house grow by nearly $350,000. In another example, the assessor's office lowered the values of vacant lands owned by other contributors by as much as 99 percent.
Reyes defends his work, saying, "I don't care if they donated or didn't donate. I don't care if they're Republicans or Democrats. I'm the assessor for Adams County. Once you're here, there is no politics."