Our View: Craig residents will have to pay — no matter what | CraigDailyPress.com

Our View: Craig residents will have to pay — no matter what

Editorial Board

Sheila Brennise: Community representative (absent)

Chris Thome: Community representative

Renee Campbell: Newspaper representative

Noelle Leavitt Riley: Newspaper representative

Sheli Steele: Newspaper representative

For the past several years — especially the past 12 months — various organizations have put blood, sweat and tears into making Craig a better-looking, more viable and more appealing community.

Imagine if the city wasn’t able to keep up with the vision of making Craig better due to lack of funds.

On Wednesday, the city of Craig hosted a meeting that outlined concerning figures for Craig’s economic future, which could harm efforts to improve our community.

If the city doesn’t find a way to increase revenue, Craig could be in a $600,000 shortfall next year, resulting in cutting services in the city and making it difficult to keep up with various tasks, including beautification of Craig. Capital projects won’t get done nor will the proper maintenance for road equipment.

That’s why Craig City Council is looking to increase Craig’s sales tax revenue and potentially add a use tax to purchases, such as automobile sales, to help maintain what we already have and make it better. A use tax would come into play if a Craig resident bought a car in Steamboat, allowing Craig will still get a small tax amount from that purchase.

Without increases, Craig will be in trouble.

Perhaps Jennifer Riley from The Memorial Hospital said it best at Wednesday’s meeting: “Our community is going to fall apart if we stop investing in ourselves.”

An increase in taxes would need to go through voters, and we’re well aware how Craigites feel about raising taxes.

But we must invest in this community. We’d like to remind readers that they’re going to have pay no matter what.

Let’s say a sales tax question goes on the ballot and it fails. Well, our basic services will increase such as trash, water and sewage.

Regardless, fees are going to go up, whether it be in your services or in your sales tax. Let’s have other people pay it too when they visit our community.

Our view is that the community should support a sales tax/use tax increase. Sure, we’ll have to pay more for retail items, but so will those visiting our area.

Keep in mind we already have a modest sales tax in Craig. When you combine it with county taxes it’s only 4.25 percent, which is much lower than many of our neighboring cities, including Rifle. The proposed tax would take the rate to 5.5 percent.

Some fear increased sales taxes would prompt Craig residents to go out of town to shop, but keep in mind that would cost you more in gas than a small sales tax increase.

Let’s pay modestly to help our city thrive.

If we don’t increase taxes, the look of Craig will go down, the services we are able to enjoy and often times take for granted will be lost, city employees will lose their jobs and more people will leave the community.

Heck, our wave pool might close. And the city of Craig won’t be able to mirror the hard work many organizations have put in to improve Moffat County.

We’d also like to advise city council to put the sales tax ballot question on the April ballot, not November’s “already crowded ballot,” as County Clerk Lila Herod put it at Wednesday’s meeting.

We must support our city if the city is going to support us.

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