TORRINGTON – The good news is Torrington is growing again and is currently growing faster than 70% of similarly sized cities across the nation according to the U.S. Census Bureau, however, the bad news is that due to lingering COVID-19 materials shortages and higher prices, county assessed property values are increasing at abnormally higher rates this year. Goshen County residents have until May 19, to contest the county assessor’s value of their home for future tax purposes.
On April 19, Goshen County Assessor Debbi Surratt mailed Torrington residents a Notice of Property Value Assessment which will be used to determine property taxes next tax year. Surratt is advising residents to carefully review their 2022 Property Value Assessment because it will determine future taxes on all residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial buildings within the county.
“Residents only have 30 days from the day we mailed the notice – that’s it – to contest the county assessor’s assessed value of their properties for the next coming tax year, (for 2022),” Surratt said, “and we are about halfway through that period already.”
If residents decide not to contest the county assessor’s assessed value of their properties within Goshen County by the end of 30 days, or May 19, they can do so at a later time, but it will not affect the 2022 tax season and will be applied in the following tax season of 2023 when filed in 2024. Property owners can expect to see a property tax increase or decrease based on updated property values ranging from as low as 9% to as high as 25%.
“Typically, Torrington and Goshen County historically have seen an average of a 3-5% (property value tax) increase over roughly the last two decades, but this year the average increases range from 12% to 15%,” Surratt added.
Data from the county assessors
• In 2013 property values increased by 3% from 2012;
• In 2014 property values increased by 12% from 2013;
• In 2015 property values increased by 5% from 2014;
• In 2016 property values increased by 6% from 2015;
• In 2017 property values decreased by 1% from 2016;
• In 2018 property values decreased by 1% from 2017;
• In 2019 property values increased by 2% from 2018:
• In 2020 property values increased by 3% from 2019;
• In 2021 property values increased by 3% from 2020;
• In 2022 property values are increasing on average by an estimated 12-15% from 2021 on average.
The ten-year average for the Goshen County property value change is 4%, excluding the current property values assessment protest period of 2022. The final percent change in 2022 from 2021 won’t be finalized until sometime after July 2022, because the county assessor’s office will not receive the state assessed certified values until that time.
Surratt said it’s imperative that residents look at their assessed values this year due to several factors; like the ongoing building materials shortages accompanied with higher prices due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nationwide housing crisis, and a significant population boom in the county, especially within Torrington.
“The sort of property and building materials used also dictate a property’s value, so with some of those materials being in high demand but short supply, that also causes property values to skyrocket this year,” Surratt explained.
Surratt also clarified that due to the uncertainty of the revolving COVID-19 shortages, closures and other obstructions, it would be too early to determine if property values would increase or decrease in 2023. “It would have to depend a great deal on the price of building materials and access to those materials, in addition to whether or not the population boom plateaus or peaks again,” Surratt stated.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population in Torrington had been declining at a rate of -.60% since 2010. However, the latest census reports indicate that since 2020, the population in Torrington has increased steadily by .09%. The Census Bureau reported that the population increase is not due to new births in Torrington, which was 3.1% in 2021, the second lowest measurable percentage in the state and down by nearly 14% compared to the average of births in Torrington over the last decade. The recent population boom is in a large part due to out-of-state residents moving into Wyoming, Goshen County and Torrington.
“Unofficially, so not in any official capacity, I’ve asked residents who have moved into Goshen County – many did settle in Torrington – where they moved from,” Surratt explained, “and what I have noticed is a majority of new residents are coming from out-of-state, namely Michigan and Colorado.”
“An increase of out-of-state individuals in, combined with sort of a sellers market – which is very volatile right now – is one of the leading reasons why property values are being assessed and adjusted to match higher fair market values, which in most cases is a much higher value than what many residents will be accustomed to,” Surratt added.
As of July 1, 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau notes that only about 45.11% of Torrington residents were born in Torrington and the current population is 6,624, which is the peak population since becoming a municipality and included in the annual census reports.
According to the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, the great news for Torrington residents is that unemployment is down to 11% and medium household income grew by nearly 17% during the COVID-19 pandemic and is roughly $52,000. The department also reported that the percentage of Torrington residents at or below the poverty level fell to 11% from 13% during the previous year.
Veterans wishing to use their exemption again this year must contact the Goshen County Assessor’s Office before May 19.
“(Veterans) please come in and get signed up if you have not – or you can simply call the office and we will sign you up over the phone,” Surratt states. “We will be making phone calls as usual if we do not hear from you.”
Veterans may call 307-532-2349 to notify the assessor’s office before the 4th Monday in May, or before May 23.
“Despite the property values being assessed at higher than average values, the outlook for Torrington and Goshen County residents is improving fairly quickly as we continue to leave COVID-19 behind us,” Surratt contended.