Castle Pines, CO

Tax hike, levy transfer placed on Castle Pines ballot

Mike McKibbin
An aerial view of Castle Pines.Photo byCity of Castle Pines

By Mike McKibbin / NewsBreak / Aug. 31, 2023

[CASTLE PINES, COLO.] — Voters in Castle Pines will be asked to approve two tax-related measures on their Nov. 7 general election ballot after the city council agreed to the moves Tuesday night in a special meeting.

One measure will seek voter permission to transfer 12 mills of property tax revenue from local special districts to the city and allow the city to use the money to maintain parks, recreation, trails and open space. The districts would reduce or eliminate their mill levy by that amount, so the net effect to most Castle Pines residents will be no change in their city property tax payments.

A second measure asks voters to approve a 20-year, 1% sales tax increase for street and road maintenance needs. If approved, the tax would be the first dedicated source of money for streets and roads in Castle Pines.

The mill levy transfer ballot language states the move could generate up to $4.75 million a year, while the roads sales tax language has a $4.5 million cap.

The two measures were discussed by city officials and residents in an Aug. 24 telephone town hall.
Elk Ridge Park in Castle Pines.Photo byCity of Castle Pines

Levy transfer would bring ‘clear and consistent approach’

Councilmember Kevin Rants noted Tuesday night that the mill levy transfer will allow the city to become the sole service provider for city parks, recreation, trails and open space.

“There will be a clear and consistent approach and it’ll be the same way to communicate with our government,” he said. “This is the right thing to do for our city.”

Rants said he was often confused about which agency to contact about a particular park or issue. With the measure’s approval, the city will be that source.

The council voted 5-1 to place the mill levy transfer question on the ballot. Councilmember Deborah Mulvey voted against it and Councilmember Roger Hudson was absent.

Road sales tax likely to generate ‘substantially less’ than cap amount

City Manager Michael Penny said most of the city’s sales tax revenue comes from online sales and visitors who spend money in the city. He also noted the sales tax hike is expected to generate “substantially less” than the $4.5 million cap required to be included in the ballot language. The state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights requires the ballot language for new taxes to have a maximum amount.

Mulvey asked why the tax would last 20 years instead of 10. Penny said he was unaware of any local sales tax measure in Colorado that would only last 10 years.

“Initially, we were talking about 22 years,” he added. “Typically, these types of sales tax measures are for 20 or 30 years to allow you to build up some money and show what you’re doing with the money over time. Some projects take years and years to complete.”

Penny also noted road maintenance costs will increase in coming years, “so it’s not very likely” the city would exceed the $4.5 million cap and have to rebate any excess to residents.

Mulvey called the tax hike measure “a difficult one for me.”

The council voted 6-0 to place the road sales tax hike on the ballot. Penny said resolutions for official council support of both measures will be presented in a future meeting.

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