While discussing the county’s year-end financial standing for 2011 in a special meeting Tuesday, the end of the 2006 de-Brucing measure (dubbed “1A”) was discussed in terms of its long-term benefit, or lack thereof, to the county.
In 2006, Archuleta County voters voted to “de-Bruce” the county for five years, allowing the county to collect revenue above TABOR (Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights) limits.
With that de-Brucing, the county also permanently decreased its mill levy from 21.145 mills to 18.233 mills, in exchange for the five years of additional revenue.
With 1A revenues a thing of the past (the measure expired at the end of 2011, meaning the final revenues will be collected in 2012, though little will be collected, if any, thanks to the property tax decrease), county staff and elected officials are looking at the measure as less-than-ideal in terms of the county’s future financial stability.
Following Tuesday’s presentation on 2011 year-end financial statements for the county’s governmental funds, Commissioner Steve Wadley questioned the measure.
“Never trade what you want now for what you want most,” Wadley said, pointing out that, in the long run, the measure would cost the county funding because of the dropped mill levy.
Later in discussion, Finance Director Diane Sorensen pointed out that the move was not in the best interest of the county.
Sorensen continued, saying that the measure would not have reached the voters with different commissioners, and that the measure was giving up what the county was entitled to over the long term.
Sorensen said she is amazed the county has not been permanently de-Bruced.
“We’re in a very distinct minority by not being permanently de-Bruced,” County Administrator Greg Schulte added.
A permanent de-Brucing measure was floated by the BoCC prior to the 2010 General Election, but was changed to a finite extension of the measure before appearing on the November ballot. The BoCC then repealed its support for the measure a month before the election.
The commissioners, in repealing support of their own measure, backed a school district push to raise the district’s mill levy, which then failed at the polls.
Any de-Brucing measures or attempts to again raise the mill levy would have to be approved by Archuleta County voters in an election.