Whether you want to find out how your tax money is divvied or see how high you can climb in Castle Rock, the town wants to ensure both answers are yours with a few simple clicks.
The town’s IT department debuted online features designed to enhance transparency, including a tax calculator similar to that launched in 2010 on the Douglas County government transparency portal.
The tax calculator breaks down the tax bill for each property in Castle Rock, showing residents what they pay for town services that include fire, police, parks, recreation and open space.
What’s the cost?
The average property tax bill in Castle Rock on a $300,000 home is $1,700, according to the town. A tax bill shows that less than $40 of that goes to the town of Castle Rock and the balance goes to other county taxing entities, such as the school district and county government.
The town’s tax calculator includes a breakdown to show residents what those numbers look like as well.
“People all the time are wondering – they don’t know where their taxes are going,” said Mark Longacher, Castle Rock information solutions program manager. “We wanted to show them, ‘here’s what the town is getting from you on your property.’”
The tax calculator is online at crgov.com/propertytax, where residents can enter a home address for a breakdown that shows what taxes are assessed against the property. The calculator was developed in-house, Longacher said, and also provides a link to the county assessor’s website for more information about the property.
How high am I?
Residents can also visit the town’s website for a town trail elevation map at crgov.com/trailelevation, to find out how high the town’s trails reach. The map highlights the town’s trails in red, where visitors can click for facts such as surface type, length, construction date and elevation at any given point on the trail.
An elevation profile of the trail appears on the bottom of the screen. The town has the capability of mapping the elevation of any surface in the town limits, Longacher said, including houses, roads and office buildings.
“In the future we probably will use that same technology to do bike races, road races and running races to see the elevation as you go along the route,” he said. “We have unlimited capabilities on the technology. We can check altitude on just about anything that is mapped.”
The last online feature launched in the department is aimed for a more targeted audience. Castle Rock received a $6,000 grant from the Colorado Internet portal authority to fund new ways to share GIS data and used that money to create a mapping catalog with aerial imagery and zoning district maps used primarily by engineers and developers interested in the town’s topography and district mapping, Longacher said.
The catalog is available at crgov.com/mapdata and makes the information available online 24 hours a day, enabling users to gather information at all time and freeing town resources from having to cull that GIS data on demand, Longacher said.
The maps are available in multiple formats, including PDF and CAD drawings.
“Anybody with an interest in a new project in the town may need to see our parcels or get some sort of zoning information,” Longacher said. “We get those requests all the time. This is a self-service option, they can just go to the site and download it.”