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Re: “City grants Nor'Wood ability to impose $325 million in special taxes

The problem with special districts is that, while they may provide a mechanism to fund improvements within a defined area, they tend to balkanize efforts to deal with city-wide public facilities issues. Norwood and other developers will almost always argue against general property tax ballot issues, claiming they (through their districts) are already paying enough in "taxes." Under the guise of "user pay," they appropriate a part of the city's tax capacity and redirect it toward private profit, often ensuring that they earn (i.e. profit from) the interest on any bonds issued for infrastructure. Plus, the districts generally are set up so the developer controls all district operations and decision-making, with no meaningful input by any subsequent property owners, a fundamentally undemocratic structure.

Colorado Springs has a ring of special districts for most new master planned developments on the periphery of the city, and a large, mature "inner ring" of residential and commercial areas that: 1) could never put together a district due to fragmented property ownership, and 2) as a result will always be underfunded regarding the maintenance and upgrading of infrastructure and public facilities and services. Given the trends of development in this community, before too long those mature areas will be urban wastelands, underserved and physically deteriorated.

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Posted by IJJoseph on 09/27/2017 at 9:25 AM

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