Economic development board supports ballot measures 2A, 5A
September 22, 2017
CRAIG — Business leaders are among the first to endorse two tax measures that will appear on local ballots in November.
The Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership Board of Directors voted Sept. 20 to unanimously support Moffat County Affiliated Junior College Referred Measure 5A and city of Craig Referred Measure 2A during a meeting at Craig-Moffat Airport. Board member Janell Oberlander abstained from the 5A vote due to her employment with Colorado Northwestern Community College.
Measure 5A asks Moffat County voters to support an increase in funding of the Craig campus of CNCC by authorizing a property tax increase of $2 million in 2018 and, in subsequent years, an increase of no more than 5 mills. The tax could be used to support tuition assistance for district residents enrolled at CNCC, supplemental program funding for the college, new facilities or the renovation of existing facilities, technology enhancement or supplemental equipment for the college and operating costs of facilities owned by the district.
If approved by voters, the measure would sunset in 2048.
"The college is one of the best possible hopes for Craig. When we look down the road, nine years from now, this is one of those economic drivers," said Memorial Regional Health CEO and CMEDP board member Andy Daniels.
Daniels thinks the measure will help the college gain the funds it needs to grow.
"I think the college has grown about as big as it is going to get without campus housing," he said.
Business owner and CMEDP board member Jay Oxley said his commercial taxes increased 40 percent when mill levies passed to build the hospital and college. Despite the fact he will again see additional tax burden for his business if Referred Measure 5A is approved, he endorsed the measure.
"I've always been behind student dorms," he said.
If the measure passes in November, the top 10 commercial tax rate payers will foot most of the bill.
"It will cost most people the same per year as three lattes," said board member Audrey Anna Masterson.
The CMEDP board also unanimously voted to support Referred Measure 2A.
Measure 2A asks City of Craig voters to increase taxes by $2.1 million annually in the first full fiscal year and by whatever additional amounts are collected annually in the subsequent years by levying a 1.75-percent sales tax on the sale of tangible personal property and services. If approved by voters, the increase will take effect July 1.
Taxes raised by the measure would be used to stabilize declining revenues and allow for new capital expenditures.
"The city isn't going to use this as a bailout. I wasn't willing to go to voters just to break even," said Craig City Council and CMEDP board member Derek Duran.
Purchases of accommodations from hotels, motels and establishments leasing or renting overnight and short-term accommodation would be excluded. The measure also excludes motorized and off-highway vehicles from all sales tax within the city.
City Finance Director Bruce Nelson was on hand to share data, including a graph detailing declining city revenues.
"If this were a personal budget, we'd be looking at bankruptcy. Something has got to stop," said College District Board Member and former City Mayor Terry Carwile.
Ballots will be mailed to registered voters beginning Oct. 16.
"The board voted to approve these measures, because it feels strongly that our community is ready to grow, and these investments will be important for our community's future success," CMEDP Board Chair Luke Tucker said. "We need to support the services we enjoy from these two institutions and come together to fund initiatives to diversify and stabilize our economy. We believe these measures do just that."
Some voters will also decide on a sales tax measure for the town of Dinosaur and a mill levy for the Pot Hook Water Conservancy District. Voters will also decide two contested races for the Moffat County School District Board of Education. Additional school board seats and college district board seats will be filled by appointment.
There are three ways to return a ballot: by mail, by using the 24-hour drop box at the east entrance of the courthouse or in person, using a valid form of identification.
In-person voting will be conducted at the service and polling center at the Moffat County Courthouse, Moffat County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, Suite 200, 221 West Victory Way.
CMEDP Executive Director Michelle Balleck contributed to this report. Contact Balleck at 970-620-4370 or email@example.com.