“It has become clear to me, after careful study, that we face a day of reckoning over the unchecked proliferation of special taxing districts across Colorado.
Local officials for years have been approving an unmanageable, crazy-quilt of these districts — quasi-governments that operate with little accountability over huge sums of money they collect and spend annually — often without fully understanding the long-term consequences for the local tax structure, economic vitality and delivery of services.
By my count, there are roughly 118 special districts of various types operating in my hometown of Colorado Springs — metropolitan, general improvement, special improvement maintenance, downtown development authority, business improvement, and urban renewal areas. These areas provide public financing for public improvements; water and sanitation; fire protection; parks and recreation; public safety; street improvement; etc. And we seem to add a new one to this hodgepodge almost every month.
Hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars flow through these districts annually. Collectively, the city has granted districts billions of dollars in bonding authority — on the backs of homeowners and businesses, not the city. Each district purports to deliver a variety of public benefits, but what participants and the general public get for their expenditures and indebtedness is often hard to discern, given the lack of oversight and transparency with which these districts operate.”
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Hoiles, Tim. Denver Post 20 November 2019.