Residents to vote on revenue keeping
Last year, Moffat County commissioners turned down the opportunity to get an additional $268,007 in revenue because the county would have to share some of it with the city.
“I don’t care how great a neighbor you are, I’m not giving you $100,000,” former Commissioner Les Hampton said at the time.
This time, commissioners have changed their tune. County officials have said they will share additional revenues with the city if voters approve a ballot question in November.
Residents will vote on allowing the county to keep revenue that exceeds limits set by a 1913 state statute.
Under that 1913 law, local taxing jurisdictions are allowed a 5.5 percent annual increase, plus an additional amount to accommodate increases in service demands spurred by growth. If this ballot issues passes, Moffat County would be able to retain the $269,526 in property tax revenue that is over the 5.5 percent limit. If the measure is voted down, residents would get a temporary property tax credit in 2006. For each $100,000 in valuation, taxpayers would receive a refund of $6.28. A taxpayer with a business valued at $100,000 would receive a refund of $22.88.
If the measure is approved, commissioners will dedicate a portion of the additional revenue to the county’s road and bridge fund. State statute requires that counties share with municipalities within their borders a portion of any mill levy that is dedicated to the counties’ road and bridge funds.
This will be the first time in five years the commissioners have dedicated a portion of their revenue to the road and bridge department in the form of a mill levy. In 2000, the county dedicated 1.205 of its 20.872 mill to the road and bridge fund, $37,150 of which went to the city.
The road and bridge department since has been sustained by the highway users tax, mineral lease revenues and sales tax revenue, but those dollars only covered operating and maintenance costs.
Moffat County budget analyst Tinneal Gerber said officials won’t know how many mills to dedicate to the road and bridge fund until the county completes its budget process, which is just beginning.
Gerber said the county will use the money dedicated to the road and bridge fund for capital purchases.
“We can get our capital plan for the future on track,” she said. “Because of budget cuts, we’ve not been maintaining it the way we should.”
The city will only benefit for the first year.
After that, either the county will cease to designate a mill to its road and bridge fund or it will request an exemption from the statute that requires it be shared with municipalities, Gerber said.
The county must reapply for that exemption each year.
Commissioner Saed Tayyara said that giving the city a portion of that revenue for the first year is a show of unity.
“We just want to be a good neighbor,” he said.
Past experience has Craig Mayor Don Jones hesitant to start counting dollars yet.
“Seeing is believing,” he said. “(The commissioners) are trying real hard to work with the city, and it’s going to take a while. It is much easier to work with this board than other boards.”
And though $37,000 is just a drop in the city’s $7 million budget, Jones said, “anything we could get would be much appreciated.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or ccurrie@craigdailypress/com
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