Guest column: Colorado Mountain College intends to soften the impact of increased property values
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
As many property owners digest considerable increases in 2023 property valuations, the Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees plans to reduce its mill levy to keep revenue growth near inflation (5.7%) in the 2023 tax year.
We believe this is the right thing to do for the college and for taxpayers in CMC’s multi-county district.
CMC was founded nearly 60 years ago as a locally funded college that serves its communities with postsecondary education and training opportunities closely tied to the regional economy and workforce needs. This has never changed. In recent years, CMC has worked diligently to ensure that special taxing districts can adapt to changing economic realities.
None of us could have anticipated the acute and accelerated increase in property values. Fortunately, entities like CMC now have the capacity to temporarily lower their mill levies to reduce the fiscal pressures felt by businesses and homeowners.
You may have read recent headlines from the state capitol in Denver promising reductions in property taxes due to the dramatically higher property evaluations. While these are attractive initiatives, the reality is that this proposed package is a complicated mix of new regulations and a referred measure that will need voter approval in November. And this measure may compete with other property tax initiatives on the ballot.
Whether and if these measures are adopted is to be determined. In the meantime, we, the CMC Board of Trustees, intend to lower the college’s mill levy in December 2023 to a level in which overall revenue from this source does not exceed inflation.
We won’t be able to set that level until December 2023, as we must first receive final property valuations from counties later in the summer and then watch to see if measures on the 2023 ballot pass or fail. So, we ask for your patience and confidence.
Financially speaking, CMC is one of the healthiest and best managed public colleges in the state, and, arguably, the nation. The college’s credit rating increased twice in the past decade and is the second highest among all colleges and universities in the state — a rating we work hard to maintain.
This enviable fiscal health allows the college to invest in new academic and locally relevant training programs, state-of-the-art facilities, competitive wages and benefits, and housing. It is not, however, an invitation to arbitrarily collect revenues above the college’s budgetary needs. We believe that effectively stewarding local resources requires balance, care and integrity.
We all live here, too, and we love our rural mountain towns. We are your neighbors and strategic partners, and it is our privilege to represent Colorado Mountain College.
This guest column was provided on behalf of CMC’s Board of Trustees including Peg Portscheller, board president (West Garfield County); Chris Romer, board secretary (Eagle County); Bob Kuusinen, board treasurer (Steamboat Springs); Dave Armstrong, board liaison (representing Salida and Poncha Springs); Markey Butler (Pitkin County); Bob Hartzell (Lake County); Patty Theobald (Summit County) and Marianne Virgili (East Garfield County).
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