By RYAN SHERIDAN
Daily Press writer
Residents of Dinosaur will go to the polls this fall to decide if the town should create a sales tax for itself. The proposed 2.1 percent tax would raise approximately $26,000 for the town's budget.
The budget is the main reason this initiative was put on the books, according to Clint Morrill, mayor of Dinosaur.
"The town has lost approximately 50 percent of its income in the last two years," Morrill said. "This sales tax is the only fair way I can see to deal with that. This is the best chance residents have of not putting the total tax burden on themselves this tax will reflect on the people who pass through our town, the oil field workers and the coal miners that buy treats and drinks."The sales tax would also capture some of the $1.2 million of tourist related sales that was spent in Dinosaur last year, he said.
The town has lost the county sales tax money it used to receive because that money is now being used for the Moffat County Public Safety Center, and has lost $27,000 in severance taxes. The rising cost of utility bills plus the $7,400 annually that Dinosaur pays the PSC for communication services have made the budget very tight, Morrill said.
Dinosaur's budget has fallen from "about $202,000 in '99 to $104,000 and change for this year," he said. "And this tax will get us just a pittance of what we've lost, but it could help things become a little better, make things nicer. The only other choices are to start cutting back services and we already have complaints about services now or to do a different tax that burdens only the town, which also isn't something I think is a good idea."
Town meetings were held to help explain this issue, but attendance was minimal. Those that attended did see why this initiative was important, Morrill said.
Richard Blakley, owner of the B & B Restaurant in Dinosaur, is not convinced this tax is necessary, and plans to vote against the tax.
"I haven't seen anybody control the money they have, or take care of it," Blakley said. "They tell us they're broke but then they go and buy backhoes.
They need to put their money to good use."
Morrill cited Moffat County Commissioner T. Wright Dickinson concerning taxes, and the need for this one in particular.
"Commissioner Dickinson said to me, basically, that the American people are taxed to death these days, but a sales tax was the most fair way to pay for what a town uses," he said. "We're not eager to ask for this, but it's needed. If this initiative does not go through, the town will have to support the budget themselves."