Carbondale fire levy renewed; New Castle auto tax tightly contested |

Carbondale fire levy renewed; New Castle auto tax tightly contested

Staff Report

Patrons of the Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection district approved an extension of its current property tax rate, which was scheduled to sunset.

The proposal would not raise property taxes but continue the property tax rate the fire district has had since 2015. Approval maintains that revenue for another three years. The tax provides $633,000 a year. Voters approved the proposal 1,876-976.

Without the renewal, the fire district would have to put its capital spending on hold, so needed replacement of equipment would be set back. Jenny Cutright, the fire district’s public information officer, said the district has already delayed the replacement schedule for much of its equipment, a lingering impact of reduced property tax revenues during the recession.

New Castle auto tax tightly contested

With nearly all votes counted, the fate was uncertain for a one-time, 3.5 percent use tax that would be collected when New Castle residents purchase a new or used vehicle that requires registration. The vote total was reported at 409-406 against.

New Castle is the only Garfield County community that does not already collect this tax, which was projected to raise $330,000 annually for the town.

In 2009, oil and gas revenue funded 21 percent of the town’s total operating expenses of $2,997,638. In 2016, that dropped to 5 percent. Total direct distributions from oil and gas are expected to remain below $125,000 for several years after supplying the town $642,254 in 2009.

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