Letter Regarding County Wide Sales Tax Proposal

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Dear Dolores County Residents:

This letter is being written in response to several comments and concerns we have received regarding the County Wide Sales Tax Proposal that the Dolores County Board of County Commissioners has been considering. A County Wide Sales Tax will help offset the decline of oil and gas revenues in Dolores County since 2015. Over the past 7 years we have lost over 1.6 million dollars of oil and gas revenue. A steady decline of permitting and any future development shows this to be a continuing impact to a resource stream that is currently 62% of our annual income. We have already been notified by our Assessor’s Office that we will lose another 10-13 million dollars in our assessed value this year from oil and gas. The thought process behind a sales tax is it taps into the tourism industry, on-line sales, non-local hunters, recreation users, individuals traveling through doing business transactions, businesses being built outside of Dove Creek city limits, and the burden of the tax is not just to our local Dolores County residents.

As we moved through the planning processes of this implementation, we have had monthly Sales Tax Forums with both in person and a Zoom link to enable participation. Unfortunately, these have not been very well attended and it seems our ability to educate the public on this need has fallen to a select few. We plan to follow the States guidelines on exemptions for agricultural, food for domestic home consumption, gas, electricity, and other specified fuels for residential use.

Upon review of the State’s data for taxable revenue for Dolores County in 2021 that at a 2.9% County Wide Sales Tax we could have collected $924,187.00. Taxable revenue is based off the States Taxable Net Income with their exclusions already deducted.

So where would this money go? Back into all Dolores County entities that have lost income since 2015. Here is a breakdown: General Fund – County Commissioners, Other Administrative Offices, County Attorney, Clerk & Recorder, Elections, Treasurer, Assessor, Maintenance of Buildings, District Attorney, Sheriff, Undersheriff, Jail, Coroner, Emergency Management, Mapping and Addressing, Extension , DCTV, Veterans, Dolores County Fair, Public Health, Road and Bridge, Operations of Life (Senior Services, Dove’s Nest, Rico Center), Social Services, DC Schools, Special Districts (Cahone Cemetery, West Dolores Cemetery, DC Ambulance, DC Fire, PV Fire, Rico Fire, Dolores Water Conservancy District, Southwest Water Conservancy District, DC Mandatory Weed and Pest Control District - due to Mill Levy these would be considered on an as needed basis.)

Dolores County through strategic planning has also recognized the growing needs of our community and with the above-mentioned shortfall it will be hard to continue to meet these needs and provide current services. Therefore, we set aside 1 million dollars in our 2022 budget to address land acquisition, engineering studies and possible construction for much needed updates for the Sheriff’s Office, Coroner, Public Health Nurse, mandated Election requirements, future water storage for road and emergency preparedness, and Judicial Court facility needs. This money along with available grants and State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds will help us meet the immediate needs of our growing County.

It has been suggested that we make cuts in these departments this would only lead to laying people off and cutting the much-needed services provided by the County. You cannot sustain growth if this is the business approach that is taken.

We appreciate your support in helping sustain the future of Dolores County.

Dolores County Board of County Commissioners