Garco statement lacking facts
Dear Editor:It the Garfield County budget was represented as a load of manure and dumped on the courthouse steps, the administration’s explanation would turn the pile into a bucket of honey.Does anyone believe the Garfield County statement in the Post Independent that fund balances have doubled since 1998 because the county has “been vigilant about reducing line items?”Did increasing revenues each year from 1998 through 2003 totaling $5.8 million have anything to do with it? If the county wasn’t exempted from spending limits, taxpayers would have had $12 million in property tax relief for this period.How about this “feel good” Garfield County statement: “Property taxes, too, will increase significantly in 2005 because of a county re-evaluation of natural gas wells and natural gas product emanating from them.” Let’s give credit where the credit is due. I believe had it not been for Joan Savage and Bill Clough, there would be no county re-evaluation of natural gas wells. Joan and Bill went to court and proved that the oil and gas company made errors in computing their royalty payments. Damages were awarded, not only for the “re-valuation” of a current year, as the county has mentioned, but also the prior six years.Information to compute royalty payments is very similar to what the county uses to value production. It is only logical to assume that if the royalty payments are short, that the county, along with the taxing entities within the district (schools, fire district, hospital, etc.), are coming up short big time. The financial stakes are extremely high over the life of the oil field if the oil and gas company does not report properly. The only assurance for county residents that they are receiving the correct revenues, that will in some small way compensate for our environmental losses, is that instead of a county re-valuation, there be a professional outside yearly audit.Ken CallGlenwood Springs
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