I would like to take this opportunity to make it clear that I strongly oppose Proposition 112 on the Colorado ballot and explain why this is so important to Rio Blanco County. First, Proposition 112 with its 2,500-foot setbacks would essentially serve as a ban on any new oil and gas well drilling on state and private lands within the State of Colorado. While our county is made up of approximately 75 percent federal lands, I think it’s a safe bet to think that the pressure on federal land management agencies to apply the same standards is virtually assured. As one of the top oil and gas producing counties in the state, our county will not be immune from the mass exodus of the energy industry from Colorado. With the energy industry paying approximately 85 percent of the total property taxed [sic] collected in our county, not to mention the property taxes payed [sic] by all the individual citizens that are employed in the industry, the passage of 112 would be beyond devastating to the economy and all local governments.
For those like me who like to work with actual numbers to get a clearer picture here they are. In 2017 according to the Rio Blanco County Assessor’s office of the $36,847,652 in property taxes collected the energy industry paid $31,320,504 of that. If Proposition 112 were to pass that amount would be reduced to $5,527,148. All special districts within the county would be reduced from $17,602,813 to $4,650,000, both school districts would be reduced from $11,419,127 to $1,713,000 (I recognize the state has a say in total school district funding), and the county’s revenue would be reduced from $7,450,039 to $1,118,000. While these numbers are approximate based on 2017 collections and assume a total loss of the energy industry within the county, this only includes the energy industries direct contribution and does not take into account any of their employees, and other companies that they do business with directly or indirectly who also pay property taxes within the county. Whether you work for a special district, the county, or are a taxpaying citizen who will have their services cut or being asked to make up the difference, you can see how you could be potentially impacted by this dangerous proposition. I believe it shows how important it is that all the elected officials and candidates in the upcoming elections in Rio Blanco County should be adamantly opposed to this or other outrageous ballot initiatives.
I ask for your support as the only candidate for county commissioner that opposes the passage of Proposition 112.