Craig Editorial Board, July 2009 to September 2009
- Bryce Jacobson, newspaper representative
- Joshua Roberts, newspaper representative
- Collin Smith, newspaper representative
- Kim McMurtrey, community representative
- Doris Zimmerman, community representative
- Nancy Hettinger, community representative
Since the national recession hit in September 2008, the tremors of that financial shockwave have been relatively light in Moffat County.
To some degree, our area has been insulated from the economic struggles elsewhere in the United States, and our community was the more fortunate for it.
However, after a prolonged delay, there are signs that the difficulties are now catching up to us.
City of Craig sales tax, which our municipal government lives on, has fallen, and so has Moffat County's.
Unemployment numbers in Moffat County, according to statistics, are rising faster than state and national averages.
Natural gas production also has dropped off sharply, and Moffat County officials expect to lose 28 percent of the county's general fund from 2010 to 2011 because of this decline.
That these hits are happening shouldn't be a surprise.
After all, Moffat County was sheltered from some of the economic troubles felt around the country, but it was not immune to them.
The economic symptoms ailing Moffat County are exactly the kind of struggles that federal recovery dollars were billed as being able to help cure.
However, in the Editorial Board's opinion, it seems the money allocated to projects and groups in and around Moffat County was anything but a prescription.
Stimulus money distributed to our area totaled about $20.5 million.
While this figure seems lofty, take away the $13.1 million allocated to rebuild the Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center and we're left with a substantially smaller slice of the pie.
Some of the money went to good uses - $3.8 million for carbon sequestration south of Craig, near Hamilton, could potentially be beneficial down the road - but that the largest chunk went to a questionable project such as the Quarry Visitor Center is disappointing.
It's unlikely that the Visitor Center is going to provide much benefit to Moffat County.
It's hours away, meaning it probably won't help the local work force with new job creation.
Had that money been allocated to a use in Craig - two examples that came to mind to Editorial Board members was a convention center in town or a city recreation center - it could have provided the economic boost our area sorely needs.
In the end, the Editorial Board is saddened by the government's spending choices.
Recovery money could have certainly been put to better use and relieved some of the economic stress we're feeling now and likely to feel more of in the future, the Editorial Board contends.
But, poor choices were made in the federal government, which is, sadly, what we've come to expect when it comes to our tax dollars at work.