Colorado Mountain College turns to voters to maintain revenue

Sep 4, 2017

Voter’s within Colorado Mountain College’s (CMC) tax district will be asked to weigh in on the institution’s finances this fall.

The college is funded in part by residential property taxes. That revenue source is predicted to decrease, leaving the institution with a $5.9 million shortfall. CMC Board president Glen Davis said, if the ballot measure passes, the school could continue to collect revenue at its current rate.

“What the ballot initiative attempts to do is to authorize the college to recapture only the lost property revenues caused by the Gallagher Amendment,” he said.

The Gallagher Amendment is a state law that caps residential property taxes at 45 percent of total property revenues. The rest are made up by commercial and agricultural land. The recent boom in home values in Colorado’s urban areas has skewed that balance. For years, residential property assessments statewide have been lowered to make up for Denver’s double-digit growth. As Larson Silbaugh with the Colorado Legislative Council explained, this means a hard hit in rural tax districts such as CMC’s.

“If those rural districts did not grow by 9.5 percent in values, then there's going to be a reduction in the assessed value of residential properties,” said Silbaugh.

Voters will be asked to allow the college to continue collecting taxes at the rate they pay now, if trustees deem it necessary. This allows the board to act fast if money gets tight, without being beholden to Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill Of Rights, which would require repeated public votes.