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KSJD Local Newscast - March 21, 2024

Voters in Montezuma County may have the opportunity in November to decide whether to adopt what’s being called a “public-safety sales tax.” The county commissioners are moving forward with the idea of placing a question on the ballot regarding a county-wide sales tax that would provide funding for the sheriff’s office, detention center, and drug task force. Details of the tax have not yet been decided, such as what types of purchases might be exempted from it. Commissioner Kent Lindsay told KSJD the board plans to exempt farm equipment but has not decided whether to exempt anything else. The more items that are not subject to the tax, the higher the tax would have to be in order to provide needed funding for law enforcement, which has taken some major budget cuts. Administrator Travis Anderson told KSJD the state is doing an analysis on revenues the tax would provide. If the tax is set at 1 percent, that would bring the total rate in the City of Cortez to 8.35 percent, which would be less than Durango’s rate but slightly more than Farmington, New Mexico’s. Montezuma County currently has no sales tax.

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Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal, and was the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.