5.5 percent worth less than expected | CraigDailyPress.com

5.5 percent worth less than expected

Brandon Johnson

If voters approve a tax revenue exemption for Moffat County on November’s ballot, an additional $679,336 will go into the county’s coffers.

The original estimates were that more than $1 million would go to county projects in the first two years if voters exempt the county from revenue limitations imposed by a law from 1913.

The 1913 law 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 would have to refund 4.5 percent.

But the 1913 law does not limit revenue growth attributed to new construction.

The state’s assessed valuations of public utilities, which the county certified last week, show that new construction at public utilities accounts for more of the county’s revenue than the county originally thought. The increase reduces the amount the county is required to refund under the 1913 law.

Moffat County Assessor Suzanne Brinks said some of the new construction occurred at the Craig Station Power Plant.

She said the 5.5 percent restriction does not limit new construction because when counties grow, county government has to provide additional services for growth.

“They allow governments to collect extra revenue for new construction to provide more services,” Brinks said. “It’s not in that 5.5 percent because you have to be able to provide services for that growth.”

The new construction also means the county will be able to keep an additional $338,000 even if voters reject the 5.5 percent question.

Moffat County Commissioner Saed Tayyara said that though the new construction will help the county’s budget in the next few years, it won’t remedy budget problems that the county has had in the past.

Revenue from new construction is only a temporary fix for the county, Tayyara said.

“What are we going to do when they leave?” Tayyara said of the construction.

The 5.5 percent exemption, Tayyara said, will allow the county to purchase equipment and make repairs that have had to wait in recent years.

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

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