Moffat County College District Board asks for up to $2 million tax increase for student housing
In November Moffat County voters will be asked to vote “yes” or “no” on the following measure:
Shall Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District Taxes be increased no more than $2 million in collection year 2018 and by whatever amounts as are generated thereafter from a additional property tax of not more than five mills with such revenues to be used for:
• Tuition assistance for district residents enrolled at Colorado Northwestern Community College,
• Supplemental program funding for the college,
• Providing new facilities or renovating existing facilities,
• Providing technology enhancement or supplemental equipment for the college,
• Providing for operating costs of facilities owned by the district; and
Provided that the additional property tax will sunset and no longer be collected after collection year 2048 unless reauthorized by the voters; and shall the proceeds of such taxes and investment income thereon be collected and spent as a voter-approved revenue change without regard to any spending, revenue-raising, or other limitation contained within Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution or any other law?
Voters will be asked to increase their property taxes by up to 5 mills to raise $2 million in 2018, and additional dollars for 30 years, to build on-campus student housing at the college in Craig.
The Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District Board of Control unanimously approved and certified ballot language earlier this week that will now go to the county clerk and recorder to be placed on the November ballot.
The college district currently raises about $1.2 million in revenue from three mills first approved by voters in 1999 and extended in 2009 by 68 percent of voters.
“One mill generates about $400,000 per year. Given the size of the project, we figured we might do it with three mills, but than we wouldn’t be able to operate or maintain it. Four mills might get us there, but given the declining valuation we feel that five mills would get us there,” said district board member Terry Carwile.
To provide tax payers with an idea of what the increase would mean for them, the Moffat County Assessor’s Office estimates five mills on a $200,000 Craig residential property would increase taxes by about $72 a year. Roughly $290 in additional taxes would be levied against commercial property, in Craig, valued at $200,000. These estimates are for one taxing district. There are 11 taxing districts in the county.
The primary purpose of the tax increase is to build a 100-bed facility with a common area and cafeteria estimated to cost $17 million to $19 million, depending on the final design options selected.
Funds generated from a mill levy increase could also be spent to support: tuition assistance for residents of Moffat County, supplemental funding for operating costs of current and future programs, to erect or renovate existing facilities, provide capitol funding for technology enhancement and supplemental equipment, and provide for the operating costs of facilities owned by the board.
The measure would sunset in 30 years.
The district board joins the city in asking voters to increase taxes in the fall election. The school district and the county have decided not ask voters for additional taxes this year.
“I’m thrilled to death. This has been a long process, almost three and ahalf years,” said Board Treasurer Lois Wymore.
The Fair Campaign Practices Act limits the role of the college and the district board in how they can campaign for the measure.
“We can’t use tax dollars, so we will be forming a campaign committee. We can’t use college resources. We will be abiding with all those rules,” Carwile said.
College staff and district board members are individually allowed to contribute. And a volunteer campaign committee is being formed. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Carwile by calling him at 970-846-6812.
He expects the committee to hold a community information meeting in the middle of September, about a month before ballots are mailed to voters.
“Colorado Northwestern Community College has just done an enormous amount with the current mill levy even with declining assessments,” Carwile said. “Student residence, on campus, is the thing to do if we want the institution to grow, which we do.”
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.