Henderson layoffs and production downturn impacts government funding
A New Year is approaching but for many Grand County families 2016 holds only apprehension and uncertainty.
The Henderson Mill & Mine Complex is set to begin a round of 130 layoffs on Jan. 12 and the impacts on the region are expected to be profound. This is the second round of layoffs scheduled at Henderson over the last year with first round of 80 layoffs announced in August. The layoffs, which will impact both Grand and Clear Creek Counties will likely result in some families moving out of the County and could potentially impact tax revenues and budgets for various public entities.
The Henderson Mill is located south of William’s Fork Reservoir and is within the West Grand School District (WGSD). West Grand Superintendent Mike Page explained the Henderson complex accounts for roughly 60 percent of the WGSD tax base but because of how the State of Colorado funds school operations and a school funding mechanism called the “equalization factor” he did not foresee a massive reduction in the District’s finances.
“Really it wouldn’t hurt us beyond our student count,” said Page. “The impact the District would have would be a loss in student count.” Page went on to explain the WGSD develops their annual budget in the spring and the District might have a clearer picture then of the number of students lost however it would likely be enrollment time next fall before a more exact figure regarding financial impacts could be developed.
Business Manager for the East Grand School District (EGSD) Donette Schmiedbauer echoed Page’s sentiments. Schmiedbauer explained the Henderson Complex does not figure into the EGSD tax base but pointed out the District could possibly see a decrease in student numbers, and therefore funding, if layoffs at the complex impact families residing in the EGSD and those families are forced to move out of the District.
Grand County government could also be looking at revenue reductions because of the downturn in the molybdenum market. Deputy County Assessor Dan Korkowski said the Henderson Mill & Mine complex as well as all the associated properties account for 14 percent of Grand County’s property tax revenue budget. When asked what potential impacts the County could see as a result of the downturn and layoffs at Henderson Korkowski said, “I can’t predict the future. What is their production going to be? What is the price of moly (molybdenum) going to be? What is the price of their production going to be?” Korkowski explained numerous factors would impact the revenue the county receives from the Henderson tax accounts and predictions could not be made at this time.
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