Colorado metro districts could see more oversight under lawmakers’ proposal

The Denver Post: A new Colorado legislative proposal aims to increase accountability and transparency of metro districts, part of a yearslong effort to reform the more than 1,800 separate taxing authorities in the state.

Metro districts have existed in the state for decades, though they have been used much more in recent years, allowing developers to fund large housing projects and infrastructure by forming a governmental entity that is separate from a local government to get bonds that are repaid in future years by homeowners in the newly constructed subdivisions. The districts can issue unlimited debt to finance the public infrastructure.

The districts have been criticized for allowing boards often controlled by developers to approve millions of dollars in future taxes for hundreds of homes that would have to pay off the debt for decades. A 2019 Denver Post investigation showed that some of these bonds were designed to remain unpaid for decades, leading to debts that were significantly higher than the value of the homes leveraged to pay off those debts.

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