A taxing new-year

A look ahead at changes in store for 2007

The general election in November resulted in a number of changes that will take place at the beginning of the new year. Approved tax increases will be felt in 2008 when property and homeowners pay their 2007 taxes.

Here's a look ahead at some of the governmental changes in store for the year:

City charter approved

By a margin of 67 percent voters approved changes to the Craig city charter.

Many of the changes updated language and deleted sections no longer needed.

The new charter allows the city website to be used along with the media to notify

the public of important city issues.

Campaign spending limits were raised from $250 to $500 and maximum fines and imprisonment imposed by the municipal court were raised to $1,000 and 180 days.

The charter now defines the offices of city manager and city attorney, and calls for the mayor to deliver an annual "state of the city" address to the citizens of Craig.

Tax measures approved

Voters approved extending the mill levy indefinitely for Colorado Northwestern Community College.

The 3-mill levy that raises about $1.1 million per year for the college was first approved for a 10-year period in 1999.

The mill levy for the Craig Rural Fire Protection District was increased by 1.5 percent in November after failing approval in the two previous elections. The mill went from 1.997 to 3.497 mills with voter approval.

On an average home valued at $150,000, 3-mills for the college equals $35.82 and the additional 1.5-mills for the fire department equals $17.91 more in taxes each year.

Disabled Veterans

Approved by voters in November was a disabled veterans exemption that will go into effect in 2007 for taxes paid in 2008.

Veterans must be 100 percent disabled due to an active duty injury to qualify for the exemption.

The exemption cuts veteran's taxes by 50 percent on the first $200,000 actual value of their residence. Additional value is taxed by normal methods.

Seniors

Due to the passage of referendums C and D in 2005, the Senior Property Tax Exemption also goes back into effect in 2007, offering seniors the same exemption described above for veterans.

To qualify, seniors must be 65 years old and have owned their property as a primary residence for 10 years. The state will pay for 50 percent of the taxes on the first $200,000 value of the home.

Seniors and veterans should fill out applications in 2007 to qualify for the above exemptions when they pay their taxes in 2008.

Taxes are usually paid in two installments, with the first due on February 28 and the second on June 15 when tax bills are mailed out. One payment is allowed if paid by April 30.

People living out of the fire district and city limits don't pay those taxes, and people in Dinosaur pay Artesia Fire District Taxes.

Actual tax rates can be found at the county assessors office.

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or dolsen@craigdailypress.com.

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