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Drilling Boom Fuels Weld County Property Values

Kirk Siegler
KUNC File Photo

When you think of the richest counties in Colorado, Weld County isn’t necessarily the first to come to mind.

The area’s oil and gas drilling boom has pumped up the county’s assessed property value to $7.1 billion.

That puts it on par with counties in the Denver metro area, says Northern Colorado Business Reportpublisher Jeff Nuttall.

"According to a study by the state of Colorado earlier this year, Weld ranked number 4 in the state in total estimated assessed value... only behind Denver, Arapahoe and Jefferson counties," Nutall says. He notes that Denver was well ahead of the pack at an estimated $11.3 billion.

Oil and gas this year made up 55 percent of Weld’s total assessed value, up from 52 percent the year before. Much of the increase comes from development in the Wattenberg field, whose ‘sweet spot’ lies within the county.

The value of agricultural property also increased 18 percent from a year ago, but overall, farm property only accounts for two percent of the county’s total assessed value.

Interview highlights…

What does this mean for tax revenue?

"That hasn’t been calculated yet -- and by the way, these are preliminary figures that the county will certify later this year. But to give you some idea, Weld this year collected $454 million in tax revenue based on last year’s assessed value. Noble Energy and Anadarko Petroleum, two of the largest oil and natural gas companies in the region, paid the county $148 million in 2012 property taxes, or about one third of its property tax revenue."

Why are property values so important in Northern Colorado?

"What’s interesting is that all this oil money has helped Weld keep its tax rate down. In turn, this promotes economic development, because you can lure businesses with a lower tax rate. The revenue is distributed to more than 300 tax districts in Weld, including the county itself, junior colleges, schools, fire and water districts."

How has Weld County’s assessed valuation grown over the years?

"Amazingly, it has more than tripled in the past 13 years. In 2001, it was $2.2 billion. Year-over-year, Weld’s assessed valuation grew faster than the wealthier counties that ranked above it in the metro area."

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
Northern Colorado Business Report publisher Jeff Nuttall helped establish the business journal in 1995 and its expansion to a biweekly format in 1999. Jeff is involved with numerous community activities in Ft. Collins. He discusses regional business and economic issues impacting northern Colorado every other Thursday at 5:35 and 7:35 during KUNC’s Morning Edition.
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