By Korry Lewis
On March 23, 2017, Governor Hickenlooper signed HB17-1065 into law. The bill sponsored by Representative Kimmi Lewis (left) and Senator Vicki Marble (right) clarifies the Special District Act in order to block two significant loopholes in the organization of special districts.
In 2015, a few residents in Bent County, Colorado attempted to organize a metropolitan district to provide two services: 1) park and recreational facilities and programs, and 2) mosquito control. The Bent Metropolitan District would have instituted a new tax on 437,000 acres of real property, a substantial majority of which was agricultural land. Among other concerns, the organizers gathered all 273 signatures to their court petition before the Bent County Board of County Commissioners approved the final service plan for this proposed taxing district.
CICA helped a group of Bent County landowners stop the formation of the Bent Metropolitan District. CICA then supported Representative Kimmi Lewis’ HB17-1065 to prevent others from attempting to institute an unlawful property tax on agricultural land elsewhere in Colorado. This new law removes two ambiguities in the Special District Act by precluding organizers from: 1) establishing metropolitan districts to provide park and recreational services without first obtaining written consent of the affected landowners, and 2) gathering signatures before the service plan is approved by the affected city or county.