The Arapahoe County assessor correctly calculated the tax revenue provided to the Aurora Urban Renewal Authority under the state’s tax increment financing law, an Arapahoe County district judge has ruled.
AURA sued Assessor PK Kaiser in 2018, believing that he should have frozen the base assessment value of properties subject to tax increment financing, rather than adjust it with every assessment cycle.
Tax increment financing is a tool to encourage redevelopment by devoting increases in property tax revenues to the additional infrastructure and services that the project requires. In Colorado, the arrangement can last for up to 25 years.
While incremental revenues in Aurora's 21 urban renewal areas go to AURA, property taxes derived from the base value go to the taxing jurisdictions — counties, school districts and special districts. Assessors are supposed to allocate to the incremental category any increase in value from actions that occurred because of urban renewal activities.
“[I]t is clear that Plaintiff AURA is in fact challenging the allocation methodology for TIF revenues,” wrote Judge Elizabeth A. Weishaupl, “and that the Defendant Assessor believes that in following [assessment procedures] he has immunity from these claims.”
Weishaupl explained that AURA admitted Kaiser followed the procedures in the Assessors’ Reference Library, which the state publishes. She added that the court cannot “interfere with the statutorily mandated duties of the Assessor.”
The court granted summary judgment to Kaiser, dismissing the claim against him.
“Assessor PK Kaiser states that his office will continue to work closely with all urban renewal authorities, school districts, other taxing districts, and taxpayers to ensure all state statutes and property tax laws are properly followed,” the county wrote in response to the decision.