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Land Bank changes way it counts property value

In 2008 San Juan County Land Bank owned $47,213,716 in property in San Juan County. In 2009 it owned $27,438,794 worth according to a tax fact spreadsheet provided by Land Bank Director Lincoln Bormann.

What happened to $20 million worth of property? Nothing. The Land Bank switched to using assessed value instead of the purchase price. For example the 1,575 acre Turtleback mountain property's assessed value is $86,000. The Land Bank paid $10 million for its share of the $17 million purchase price.

The private San Juan Preservation Trust paid the remaining $7 million.


The property's appraised value is $16 million. The $86,000 assessed value of Turtleback was based on the property being in Designated Forest Land (DFL). Under this program, land is under a forestry plan and is actively logged.

The tax fact spread sheet is used to calculate the amount of extra taxes property owners pay to make up for taxes not paid by the properties removed from the tax rolls by the Land Bank. The campaign for the renewal of the Land Bank levy estimates the cost to a owner of a $500,000 house is about $15 a year.

The value of land purchased from the Department of Natural Resources is not included on the spread sheet since the properties were always exempt from property taxes.

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