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KSJD Newscast - September 28th, 2015

  • Montezuma County commissioners are not backing down from their stance on recent property-tax assessment for farmers.
  • Dolores County also adopts defiant attitude towards state in regard to its assessments of farmland.
  • Good turnout expected for September 30th meeting regarding draft legislation to create a national conservation area along the Dolores River.

The Montezuma County commissioners are not backing down from their stance that the county’s farmers got a bad deal in the most recent property-tax assessment. On Monday, they told their attorney, John Baxter, to prepare a letter to the state explaining their decision in July to limit tax increases to 22 percent for many types of farmland throughout the county. They granted the sweeping relief after hearing that assessed valuations of ag land had soared, in some cases doubling since 2014. The state Board of Equalization, which recently sent a letter questioning the blanket tax abatement, will meet October 8th in Denver and the county is likely to send one or more representatives to explain the board’s position.

In a related development, Dolores County has likewise adopted a defiant attitude in regard to its assessments of farmland. After receiving a similar warning from the state about Dolores County’s decision to limit farmers’ tax increases to 50 percent this year, at least one commissioner said the state will have to sue to force his county to change its decision. The Dove Creek Press reports that Commissioner Ernie Williams responded to the county attorney’s warning that they are on thin legal ground by saying the attorney should write the state and “tell them to go pound sand”.

In other news, organizers of a public meeting Wednesday regarding draft legislation to create a national conservation area along the Dolores River from McPhee Reservoir to the San Miguel River confluence are anticipating a good turnout. Water attorney and legislative expert David Robbins, who conducted a review of the draft legislation, is scheduled to present his findings and take questions on Wednesday, September 30th, at 6 PM at the conference center by the Holiday Inn Express. The meeting is open to all. Robbins was commissioned by the Dolores Water Conservancy District, Montezuma Valley Irrigation Company, and four counties to evaluate the water protections in a discussion draft of the NCA legislation. Robbins has also evaluated potential impacts if the legislation is not pursued.

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