WELD COUNTY, CO – On Tuesday, May 1, 2012, Weld County Treasurer John Lefebvre and the Weld County Board of Commissioners recognized more than $52 million in tax payments from one of Weld County’s largest single property tax payers. Anadarko Petroleum Corporation presented a $52 million check representing the company’s 2011 ad valorem taxes to Weld County during a special presentation held at Anadarko’s newly constructed regional office in Evans.
The revenue will ensure the county continues to retain its strong fiscal footing. Despite Weld County being larger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined, it remains the only county in the state with no long term debt.
In 2010 the county was honored by the Independence Institute, a think tank addressing issues from a free-market, pro-freedom perspective, who presented the county with the “Good Steward Award.” The award is given to government entities for being “good stewards” of taxpayer dollars.
In acknowledging the accomplishment Jon Caldara, President of the Institute, said, “While other local governments struggle under the strain of crushing debt, one county in Colorado ha no long term debt.”
To put Weld County’s strong fiscal status in perspective, long-term debt for Colorado’s cities, counties and school districts is nearly $31.5 billion, or $6,264 per capita.
Over the last two decades, local debt in the state has grown nearly six times faster than the population, while county debt expenditures have grown over 1,029 percent and school district debt has increased 244 percent.
In another sharp contrast, Weld County, which some along the Front Range have criticized for its “cow smell” and conservative values remains without long term debt, while the city and county of Denver, which is run by liberals and progressive politicians has $8.6 billion of long term debt.
The tax payments from Anadarko represents approximately 14 percent of Weld County’s total tax revenue which is distributed to roughly 300 underlying authorities within Weld County and ultimately benefits all Weld County residents.
“The oil and gas industry impacts our county in many positive ways,” said Commissioner Chairman Sean Conway. “If you drive on a county road, send your child to public school, use a public recreation center and library or are comforted knowing you have the protection of a fire department should you need it, then you are realizing the benefits of the oil and gas industry in our county.”
For example, 41 percent of Anadarko’s payment, or just over $21 million, will go to the school districts in Weld County. Fire Protection Districts will receive approximately $4.4 million from this payment. Other entities that receive funds from county property tax payments include towns, Aims Community College, water and sanitation districts, soil districts and special districts. The county will retain approximately 23 percent of these funds ($12.4 million) for roads, bridges and other county functions.
“Anadarko is invested in the communities where we live and operate,” said Anadarko Vice President of Rockies Operations, Jim Kleckner. “This will be our largest tax payment made to Weld County, symbolizing a constructive relationship and stable tax regime coupled with the exceptional performance of our Wattenberg oil and natural gas field and expanding presence in the region. It is gratifying to know this revenue benefits residents in Weld County, and especially the educational opportunities this creates for the local school districts.”
The tax payments from the energy industry are also a contributing factor to the stable mill levy in Weld County. Since 2010, the county mill levy has remained at 16.804. This mill levy equates to lower property tax bills for Weld County residents and businesses when compared to neighboring counties.