CNCC tightens belt as property tax revenues decrease
Steep declines in regional oil and gas production fuel financial adjustments
December 13, 2016
Craig — Colorado Northwestern Community College is estimated to receive $1.2 million less in revenues from property taxes next year.
"We are anticipating a decrease of around 10 to11 percent in Moffat County. Rio Blanco is looking at 20 to 35 percent," said CNCC President Ron Granger.
Global and national market forces have resulted in a steep decline in regional oil and gas production, said Moffat County Assessor Chuck Cobb.
Moffat County figures for 2017 have been set, and the property value is roughly $410 million, Cobb said.
"When rounded that is about an 11 percent drop from last year," Cobb said. "That's a drop of over $50 million from last year and over 49 percent of that is in one category alone — oil and gas. The good news is that all of our other levels of values have stayed about the same."
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With the valuation set, taxing entities are now submitting their mill levy requests to the county for approval next week.
All taxing entities have to have their mill levies in by Thursday, Cobb said.
The Moffat County Commissioners will then certify the levies Dec. 20, giving county entities the exact amount each will receive.
Then the Moffat County Commission will certify those next Tuesday and we will know the exact amounts each taxing entity will receive."
Before accepting the position with CNCC, Granger was vice president of administrative services at Central Wyoming College in Riverton, a position he had held since 2012.
In Wyoming, Granger managed even deeper cuts in property tax revenues due to the bust in the oil and gas industry.
That experience taught him to make spending adjustments proactively, he said.
"We are going to figure how to do that (work with less tax revenue) now, so we won't get hit hard by it next year," Granger said.
Earlier this year the Colorado Community College System required CNCC to freeze hiring for all non-essential positions for three months to allow the new president time to analyze the budget.
The community college system has halted the hiring freeze for CNCC, and the collage will continue to evaluate positions.
"We have open positions that we are not going to replace as we have determined that they are not needed for either campus," Granger said.
Such adjustments will allow CNCC to avoid cuts to essential services and programs, he said.
"Low hanging fruit — things that are not benefitting a lot of people — those are the things we have to look at first," he said.
In February and March, CNCC will learn the amount of money it will receive from the state.
"That's when we will have a real idea of where we are and if we need to make additional adjustments," Granger said.