HB 10-1006: Fund Water Resources Tier 1 Operational

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From The Durango Herald (Joe Hanel):

Gov. Bill Ritter has asked each state department for 10 percent cuts, and because the state engineer’s office is one of the only parts of the Department of Natural Resources that uses general tax dollars, it will suffer the brunt of the budget crisis. Ritter’s budget calls for 20 fewer positions in the 270-person division next year.

[HB 10-1006: Concerning Increased Funding for the Division of Water
Resources from the Operational Account of the Severance Tax Trust Fund], by Rep. Kathleen Curry, I-Gunnison, puts the engineer’s office in line for $413,000 from gas and oil taxes. Right now, the Colorado Division of Wildlife has the money to study how gas drilling affects wild animals. By moving the money, the engineer’s office can restore the equivalent of 5.3 jobs, including some water commissioners. The commissioners, more commonly known as ditch riders, police the use of water in the field and make sure senior water-rights owners get their water. “These are really good people doing really tough jobs for really very little pay,” said Jack Byers of the Colorado Water Congress, which supports the bill…

Her bill passed the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee 8-4 on Tuesday. Representatives who voted “no” were upset the engineer’s office didn’t send anyone to testify about how much money the office needs, and the Division of Wildlife did not answer questions about its use of gas and oil tax money. Several longtime critics of the DOW sit on the committee.

More 2010 Colorado Legislation here.

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