County searching for additional tax revenue |

County searching for additional tax revenue

Tax formula for Craig Station owner may be changed

Tyler Baskfield

The Moffat County Board of Commissioners is trying to figure out a way to get more tax money from one of the owners of the Craig Station.

The Platte River Power Authority is one of five partners who own the Craig Station, an electric power plant south of Craig. The authority pays $36,000 each year in tax as a tax exempt organization. The $36,000 is derived from a formula designed to measure what kind of burden the authority employees place on Moffat County, such as utilities. Since the Platte River Power Authority is an 18 percent partner, the formula is based on 18 percent of the employees. The formula was agreed upon five years ago and shows each employee places a $1,200 burden annually on the county.

“The original approach was to evaluate the Platte River portion of the Craig Station as if those employees didn’t exist or as if they were moving into Moffat County,” said Dennis Stranger, consultant for Moffat County. “Based on a worse case, what would it cost to provide services to them?”

The formula hasn’t been renegotiated for five years and commissioners believe the Platte River Power Authority is getting the better end of the deal.

“They’re getting a heck of a deal,” said Commissioner Joe Janosec. “Things have changed in the last five years and they are still paying a minimal amount.”

Commissioners hired Dennis Stranger as a consultant to review the formula and determine if there has been enough change in Moffat County services to call for a renegotiation. While the commissioners see validity behind restructuring the formula, Stranger isn’t quite as confident.

Stranger plans to review the contract between the county and Platte River Power Authority after some encouragement from the commissioners.

Stranger sees two possible ways of pursuing the renegotiation. One is with the help of Club 20, a lobbying group that champions the interests of the Western Slope. Club 20 could help lobby the Colorado Legislature to readjust the tax exempt status of the Platte River Power Authority.

The second option is to just approach the Platte River Power Authority with a list of readjustments that support restructuring of the current formula. Commissioners have instructed Stranger to build a list of changes in the economy and the services the county provides that have made the old formula obsolete. Once the list is complete, commissioners will decide what action to take.