I had heard about metropolitan districts throughout the metro Denver area, and learned more when the metropolitan district was created to fund work on the Loretto Heights campus. The Loretto Heights Area Plan sailed through the Denver Planning Board, and then on to Denver City Council, with crucial information found in the “Service Plan for Loretto Heights Metropolitan District No. 1 in the City and County of Denver.”
It seemed somewhat murky — OK, I’m not an accountant — but that is how developers work, in terms of raising money for things like streets and other infrastructure items needed for housing developments. And homeowners pay it off over the years.
So, at this time of the year, when people are fading into a crazed holiday daze, it’s been interesting to push that aside, instead spending time reading a series in The Denver Post about the perils of homeowners living in metropolitan districts. Escalating taxes, transfer fees, and on and on – all run by board members who may not live in the district at all.
It’s like the gift that keeps on giving. Sort of.
Here’s my favorite lede on one of reporter David Migoya’s numerous stories in this series:
“Bruce Rau is one of the most elected men in Colorado.
“And it’s unlikely you’ve ever heard of him.
“Unlike any other public official in the state, however, Rau — a registered Republican — doesn’t actually live in any of the districts he represents. He wields some of the most broad-reaching taxing authority that impacts tens of thousands of people he’s never met, and has been elected by fewer than a dozen voters at a time – sometimes by none at all.
“The 48-year-old Centennial resident sits on at least three dozen metropolitan district boards that, if fully developed and put together, would easily rank among the state’s top 10 biggest cities.
“All of that because Colorado’s Special District Act lets him.”
This series is definitely worthy of an award – and helping us to learn more. Below are links to the stories in the Post since Sunday, and a link to a Westword story about the Loretto Heights Area Plan: