Metropolitan or Special Service Districts
As of 2017, the City of Brighton reviews all submitted Metropolitan Districts with the City of Brighton's Model Service Plan.
Overview of Metropolitan Districts
What is a Metropolitan District (Metro District)?
- Known as Metropolitan Districts, Metro Districts and sometimes known as Special Districts.
- “A quasi-municipal corporation and political subdivision of the State of Colorado formed pursuant to the Special District Act, Article 1, Title 32, of the Colorado Revised Statutes.”
- District boundaries are mainly concentrated in or designed for a specific subdivision.
- “Subject to most state statutes that apply to other governmental entities, such as open meetings and public record laws.”
Why are there Metropolitan Districts?
- Developers utilize them to:
- Acquire tax-exempt rates to finance public improvements.
- Acquire funding over a longer period of time.
- Lower the costs to themselves.
- Have increased amenities and or aesthetics for their subdivision.
- Potential benefits to the City include that:
- Street, water, sewer, storm drainage, parks, and recreation facilities get funded.
- The costs of the new development are localized to the area of new development and not put on the backs of other areas and residents.
- Preferable to some residents over HOAs.
What Can Metropolitan Districts Do?
1.) Finance, construct, operate, and maintain public improvements, such as:
|Streets||Parks and Recreational Facilities|
|Trails||Water and Sanitary Sewer Services|
|Signs||Television Relay and Translation|
|Drainage Facilities||Safety Protection (traffic related)|
2.) Levy and collect ad valorem (property) taxes.
3.) Issue debt – bonds, notes, loan agreements, certificates of indebtedness or other obligations, both tax-exempt and taxable.
4.) Acquire, dispose of and encumber real and personal property necessary to the functions and operation of the Special District.
5.) Impose fees, rates, tolls, penalties, or charges for services, programs, or facilities furnished by the Special District.
6.) Create enterprises pursuant to Section 20, Article X of the Colorado Constitution.
7.) Furnish covenant enforcement and design review services in certain circumstances.
How are Metropolitan Districts Formed?
Step 1: A service plan is submitted to the approving municipality or county by the property owner(s).
Step 2: The approving jurisdiction conducts a public hearing on the service plan.
Step 3: If approved, a Petition for Organization is filed in District Court. This sets up an election for the initial Board of Directors and the authority of the district.
Step 4: The court has a hearing and orders an election (TABOR date).
Step 5: Election results are certified and an Order and Decree is issued officially organizing the district.
Who Governs Metropolitan Districts?
- Elections regarding the issuance of debt, imposition or taxes and spending of revenues are limited to the taxpayers of the district.
- The Board will initially usually be members of the development team, but over time they are generally replaced by new residents.
- Service Plans and Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) serve as the guiding documents.
Service Plans Must Include:
- Description of services
- Financial information
- Preliminary engineering or architectural survey showing how the services are to be provided
- Map of boundaries
- Estimated population at build-out
- Estimated assessed valuation at build-out
- General description of facilities to be constructed
- Estimated costs of land acquisition, engineering, legal and administrative costs, and costs related to the organization and initial operation of the district
- Description and form of any proposed IGAs
- Other information set by State Statutes or required by the approving jurisdiction(s)
Metropolitan Districts in Brighton:
- 32 Metro Districts in Brighton (As of 10/11/17)
- 8 main groupings for 4 developments
- These districts currently cover 7,870 acres within the City Limits (City is 13,662 acres)
- 57.61% of land in Brighton is in a Metro District
To Submit a Service Plan for a New or Amended Metropolitan District in Brighton:
- A complete application submittal is due by May 1st for a following November election.
- A complete application submittal is due by November 1st for a following May election.
In 2017, the City of Brighton adopted a Model Service Plan that establishes further expectations for new districts. These include having a District hold their meetings within City limits, cap their mill levies, and outline the major public infrastructure items required through an IGA at the time the service plan is adopted.