Initiative would allow Moffat County to retain all property tax revenue
This November, Moffat County voters will have the chance to override a state statutory limitation on property tax revenue collected by the county known as the “Annual Levy Law.”
According to Colorado law, local governments are prohibited from retaining property tax revenues greater than 5.5 percent from the proceeding year.
“We’re limited if property values go up to not doing anymore that 5.5 percent,” County Attorney Becky Tyree said.
Referred Measure 1A on November’s ballot would dissolve the statutory limitation and allow the county to retain property tax revenue above 5.5 percent from the previous year if successful.
The ballot question would not raise current property tax rates, Tyree said.
“It’s not a new tax,” she said. “It’s letting them keep more revenue.”
In 1996, Moffat County voters approved a ballot issue overriding the Colorado Tax Payer Bill of Rights (TABOR), allowing the county to keep new revenues above the rate of inflation plus the percent change in population.
However, the 1996 “de-Brucing” initiative did not include language to get rid of the Colorado law — which is distinct from the constitutional amendment that established TABOR — limiting property tax revenue.
“When we passed the original ordinance, we thought the wording was in there correctly,” Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe said. “But the wording wasn’t quite correct.”
Grobe said the commissioners referred this initiative to a vote back in May 2016 because the current law limits the rate at which the county can recover from an economic recession if property values do increase.
“We can drop 20 percent of total valuation but as we move forward and come out of it we can only keep 5.5 percent,” Grobe said.
Tyree said if the ballot question is successful, it would allow the county to collect, retain and spend the full amount of property tax revenues in 2017 and subsequent years.
Yampa Valley Young Professionals plans to roll out an educational campaign in favor of the initiative at the beginning of next week, YVYP President Kirstie McPherson.
“We know that it’s really important to Moffat County and that we need to keep our revenues,” she said, noting that YVYP’s purpose is to promote growth in the county.
McPherson said YVYP wanted to provide information on what the initiative would do and help explain the fact that it is not an additional tax because it can be slightly confusing.
“It’s just getting people to recognize what it is,” McPherson said.
Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.
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