City, county back asking voters about tax

The Craig City Council and Moffat County commissioners have pledged to support a bill that community college officials say is critical to the college's continued expansion in Craig.

House Bill 1093 would give the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District the ability to ask voters to extend the mill levy that supports Craig's campus. The mill generates about $1 million and is used to pay part of county residents' tuition, to initiate new programs and for capital construction projects. It sunsets in 2008.

Colorado Northwestern Community College Craig campus Dean Gene Bilodeau said the college would go to voters this November asking that the college's three-mill levy be extended.

Asking voters in 2006 to extend the mill levy gives the college two more opportunities to seek the extension if voters say "no" this fall, Bilodeau said.

The college, a member of the Colorado Community College Occupational and Educational System, must have the Legislature's approval to levy a local tax.

Kandy Kropinak, local CNCC board chair, said the Legislature is close to giving the college the OK it needs to seek the levy. The bill has been approved by the House and was sent to the Senate's Education Committee for review.

If legislation is approved to allow the vote, voters would be asked to extend the three-mill levy indefinitely. If voters say "no," the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District would dissolve Jan. 1, 2009.

Moffat County commissioners Tuesday signed the letter of support, saying the gesture indicated support of voters' right to decide, not for the question itself.

Craig's mayor also supports the idea of letting voters decide.

"The college has played an important part in our community over the last several years," Mayor Don Jones said. "I think we need to let voters decide, but we need to support it wholeheartedly."

Bilodeau said the local board is establishing an election committee, which will work to inform voters about the question and the college's role in the community.

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