San Juan County Council meets Tuesday, April 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Legislative Hearing Room. The 8:30 a.m. item is an in depth presentation about the Current Use Tax Exemption Programs. Public comment will be taken.
A power point presentation by County Assessor Charles Zalmanek includes a map showing how much of the county is included in the various programs; examples of violations, and an historical perspective. The acronymns on the map stand for CUFA - Current Use Farm/Ag; CUFC - Current Use Farm Conservation; CUTL - Current Use Timber Land; OSFC - Open Space Farm Conservation; OSOS - Open Space Open Space.
The total number of acres in the special use programs total 87,203 or 28.52 percent of the county. 13.33 acress in Designated Timber Land, 14.86 acres in the four Current Use programs. Just under 21 percent 22,936 acres of the county is tax exempt.
In all 54,353 acres or 49.34% of the county are in either special tax programs or tax exempt.
When property owners receive tax breaks through the current use programs, the state, county, and all the junior taxing districts - hospital, EMS, fire, library, schools etc. - do not receive less money. Instead the rest of the taxpayers make up the difference.
In recent years, various council members have complained about the Assessor's efforts to enforce the rules regarding the current use programs. Lack of enforcement has been a significant problem in the past.
A draft voluntary agreement deferring removal from the farm and ag program is on the agenda.