Group wants to annex western Routt County into Moffat County

— A group calling itself Citizens for Less Intrusive Government is distributing flyers in Hayden that advocate annexing western Routt County into Moffat County.

The flyer cites Colorado Revised Statutes Title 30 Article 6 as the relevant law regarding annexation in an adjoining county. C.R.S. 30-6-105 notes that taxpaying residents of a county may petition to be annexed into a neighboring county. Sufficient funds to pay for the survey and plat of the area must be submitted to the county, which then must advertise the question as part of the ballot for the next general election.

The county that would be annexing the area also must weigh in, according to C.R.S. 30-6-106.

The flyer states that the group’s aim is to take a ballot question to voters in November 2013.

“At this time, it would appear that if the annexation were to pass, it would have little impact on the town of Hayden, school or other special districts,” the flyer states.

“Jiminy Christmas, that’s a new one,” was the reaction of Mike Luppes, superintendent of Hayden School District.

Luppes said the flyer was the first he’d seen of the idea. He said a county switch wouldn’t result in much of an impact because his district’s funding comes from the state.

“At this point, it’s just a thought,” Luppes said.

Moffat County's mill levy is 23.926, according to the county assessor. Routt County's mill levy is 14.955. Moffat collects a county lodging tax of 1.9 percent whereas Routt does not collect such a tax. Moffat's county sales tax rate is 2 percent. Routt's sales tax is 1 percent. Hayden currently has a city sales tax of 4 percent.

Questions sent by the Steamboat Today to the email address listed on the flyer received unsigned responses.

The email stated that the group would like to have one person speak for it, but that will be after it gets “a little more along in the process.” It is unclear how many people are part of the group.

“We have not had any open meetings yet but intend to do so,” another email stated. “It will take some time and effort to get this accomplished.”

Routt County Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush said she saw the flyer Thursday and will ask county attorneys to brief the commissioners on the process and any relevant statutes during their work session Monday.

“We don’t yet have a complete understanding of the process and the data,” Mitsch Bush said, noting the key players are the voters who would have to approve any changes to county lines.

Amy Williams, spokeswoman for the recently formed Citizens Supporting Property Rights that advocates the development of mineral rights on private property in Routt County, said her organization is not involved with the new group.

“We’re singularly focused on our group,” she said.

“I really don’t know what the group’s frustrations stem from,” Williams said about the possibility the effort could be tied to competing views on energy development. “Maybe this group will get it going, and we’ll see what the community actually thinks.”

Anyone with additional information about the annexation effort should contact Michael Schrantz at 970-871-4206 or mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com.

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