No plans for another referendum

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It isn't uncommon for local groups to ask voters more than once to pass spending measures.

The Craig Rural Fire Protection District, Moffat County School District and the city of Craig have all asked voters more than once in the past 30 years to pass spending measures.

But Moffat County commissioners say they have no plans to ask voters again to allow the county to keep additional revenue.

In 2005, voters struck down Referendum 1A, which would have exempted the county from revenue limits imposed by a law from 1913. The ballots came back 1,659 against the referendum and 1,592 for it, or 51 percent to 49 percent.

Even though the county's request came up just 67 votes shy, commissioners say they won't ask the voters again this year.

"We think that the voters have spoken," Commissioner Darryl Steele said.

Commissioners have had brief discussions about the referendum since its failure in November, and Steele said they are in agreement that they won't ask for it again.

The law from 1913 limits county revenues to 5.5 percent growth from one year to the next. If county revenues grow by 10 percent, for example, the county has to refund 4.5 percent.

During the lead-up to the election, county officials said the referendum was needed because revenues have fallen in recent years. Even with increased energy development and the ensuing rise in tax revenues, the county is bound by the limits of the law.

Referendum 1A would have added an estimated $962,500 to the county's coffers by the end of 2006. The referendum's sunset would have been in five years, and the 5.5 percent limit would have been restored.

When the referendum failed, commissioners cut portions of the budget, including some road treatment programs and some mosquito spraying.

Commissioner Saed Tayyara said the only way the measure will end up on the ballot again is if residents lead the charge, not the county.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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