Residents campaign for tax referendum

Brandon Johnson

Former Craig Mayor Dave DeRose is one of a few citizens campaigning for Moffat County’s 5.5 percent question this fall.

The group of citizens formed a Political Action Committee to try to get the question passed. The group met Monday and plans to make fliers and go door to door in support of the 5.5 percent question.

If voters approve the 5.5 percent question — listed on the ballot as Referendum 1A — $1.2 million that would otherwise be credited to taxpayers during the next two years instead would go into Moffat County’s coffers.

The question asks voters to exempt the county from revenue limits imposed by a law from 1913. The law limits county revenues to 5.5 percent growth from one year to the next. If county revenues grow by 10 percent, for example, the county has to refund 4.5 percent.

DeRose said he is supporting the referendum because money will be spent on capital projects, such as equipment for the Road and Bridge Department and the Sheriff’s Office.

“I just know how their budget looks,” DeRose said.

If the $1.2 million from the referendum were going to the general fund, DeRose said he would not support it, but because the money is earmarked for capital projects, he plans to support it.

DeRose said he probably won’t go door to door, but that he might do radio ads for the referendum.

According to the county’s figures, the 5.5 percent question would cost a homeowner about $20 per $100,000 in property value during the next two years. The referendum would cost a business $72 per $100,000 of property value.

If the referendum fails, voters will not receive a refund check in the mail, but a credit toward future taxes.

Charley Watkins of Craig is also part of the group supporting the referendum.

Watkins and DeRose have spouses who work for the county.

Watkins said the 5.5 percent limit on revenue growth makes it hard for the county to maintain the level of services that citizens expect.

“We all want good law enforcement, good roads to drive on, we want a fire department, we want a lot of creature comforts in our county,” Watkins said. “That doesn’t come free.”

About 80 percent of the money that would be credited to taxpayers would go to the county’s top-10 taxpayers, all of which are energy companies.

Watkins said that by passing the referendum, voters can keep that money in Moffat County.

“The county as a whole will benefit from this referendum,” Watkins said.

Political Action Committees are often formed because government employees are limited in how they can campaign. Under Moffat County rules, county employees can not use county money or time to campaign for a particular issue.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or

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