Rifle’s fickle severance tax check is up from 2005, down from ’04 | PostIndependent.com

Rifle’s fickle severance tax check is up from 2005, down from ’04

RIFLE – The check’s in the mail, but it will likely be less than what was received in 2004 and more than what the city got in 2005.The city’s annual federal mineral and severance tax check is expected to be a little more than $770,000 this year, according to figures provided by the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) on Thursday.”I’m disappointed with the figures, but I think they’re accurate,” said Rifle Mayor Keith Lambert. “I’m disappointed because of the amount of impacts that are affecting communities like us and Parachute.”The town of Parachute is receiving a little more than $800,000 in mineral and severance tax payments.DOLA issued the statement of the total dollars local governments can expect to receive from severance tax and federal mineral lease distributions to counties and local municipalities. The amount of distributions for 2005 and the first six months of 2006 totaled more than $6.5 million. According to the DOLA statement, “The distribution of both funds is based on a newly revised methodology based on the counts of employees of energy and mineral producing companies.” This new method is the result of an Attorney General’s Opinion reinterpreting the manner in which Federal Mineral Lease funds were to be distributed and the work of a task force convened in 2005 by DOLA.The task force, which consisted of county, municipal and industry representatives to review and make recommendations on improving the employee counting process, achieved consensus on the method for determining the share allocated to each local government. An oversight committee, also consisting of county, municipal and industry representatives, has been established to participate on an annual basis to review the proposed allocations based on industry employee counts provided by the energy industry to the Colorado Department of Revenue,”We are confident the data used to distribute both federal mineral lease and severance direct distributions are now more accurate than at any time in the past,” said Barbara Kirkmeyer, director of DOLA’s division of local government. “We thank our local government and industry partners who assisted in this effort.”Garfield County is expected to receive nearly $931,000 in mineral lease money and $2.4 million in severance distribution.Mesa County will reportedly receive nearly $3 million in severance tax money and $1.2 million in federal mineral lease funds.”I don’t begrudge them that amount, but we need it, too,” said Lambert, who sits on the oversight committee. “It doesn’t lessen the impacts or the need.”The city of Rifle received a severance check for $1.67 million in 2004 and for $440,000 in 2005.However, because the check can fluctuate greatly from year to year, the city conservatively budgeted $250,000 for this year’s severance payment.The city of Rifle should receive its check within the next two weeks.

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