Ballot issue 7A would allow South Suburban to adjust tax rate

Parks and rec district seeks ability to ratchet mill levy up or down

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Voters will decide this fall whether to allow South Suburban Parks and Recreation to adjust its mill levy rate in the future without asking voters.

The measure, Ballot Issue 7A, will appear on ballots across the district, which includes Littleton, Bow Mar, Columbine Valley, Lone Tree, Sheridan, much of Centennial and some unincorporated areas of Arapahoe, Douglas and Jefferson counties.

The district's current mill levy rate is 8.364, according to South Suburban's 2019 budget. Voters have previously approved several increases to the levy, and in 2017 approved a measure that indefinitely extended the district's tax structure.

If 7A is approved, the district would be allowed to adjust its mill levy up or down without voter approval, starting in 2021.

According to the ballot language, the measure would help the district offset reduced revenue as a result of property tax reductions caused by the Gallagher amendment.

Colorado's residential property tax assessment rate fell to 7.15% from 7.2% in 2019, according to the Colorado General Assembly's website. The Gallagher Amendment adjusts residential property tax rates downward over time.

Proponents say the measure will allow South Suburban to maintain a predictable budget, according to the Blue Book voter's guide, and will help the district preserve its recreation facilities and open spaces.

Opponents, however, say the measure permanently eliminates voter oversight over South Suburban's tax rate, and say that the district has mismanaged funds in the past and hasn't earned the right to control its own tax rate.

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