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Metro districts interfere with regular property taxes
Editor:
With the passage of TABOR, there has been an exponential growth of metro districts in Colorado, which were originally employed to fund services such as water, wastewater and trash collection.  
Now, however, they are being employed by developers to fund infrastructure in their building projects rather than adding the cost on to the price of a home as in the past. The result is a pernicious use of privatized taxation that is passed on to home buyers for 30 years or more, much like a mortgage.  
The process is such that developers can have their plans approved by our county commissioners and sell bonds to finance these projects at a high cost and great profit for a private entity, often themselves, and then have it approved by a district judge.  
As an example, in my neighborhood, we have to pay $2,400 more per house per year in taxes for 30 years plus to have our streets and normal infrastructure maintained by private concerns rather than the county. We still pay taxes to the county but don’t get any services from them nor a credit for the portion of taxes not being used by our neighborhood.  
There are 296 homes in our neighborhood, paying a total of approximately $605,000 per year just for the metro district tax. Over 30 years, this will total over $18 million to pay for a $3,900,000 investment in infrastructure.  
Of that $18 million, it is estimated that $4,390,000 will go toward the principal on the debt, $4,629,206 to the interest and the remainder to pay for the services listed below for all years up to 2046. The extra services that we get that the county would never cover are clubhouse maintenance, grounds and landscaping, fence repair, the irrigation system, pool maintenance, snow removal and parking maintenance.  
These are normally covered through HOA fees. Had the builder added $10,000 per unit at the time of building, this extra tax could’ve been avoided. Other examples in or near Jeffco where a metro district has been created are Mountain’s Edge and Sterling Ranch developments.
I believe that an unexpected consequence of this practice will be that taxpayers in these high mill levy metro districts will not be willing to pay additional taxes for water districts, fire protections districts, school bonds or other service providing districts when asked for a tax increase. This will only exacerbate the problem created by TABOR.
I hope that the citizens of Colorado will choose to hold their county commissioners accountable on this important issue, especially in the upcoming election.  
Fayre L. Ruszczyk
Littleton

‘Facts’ aren’t really reality
Editor:
In two recent issues of the Courier, a couple of columnists have written about facts, and how we mostly seem to ignore them. OK, I’ll buy that, but just in case:
To the first columnist, fact No. 1: James Comey, by releasing another investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails just prior to the 2016 presidential election, pretty much torpedoed her run, quite the opposite of collaboration with her campaign that you claim.
To the second columnist, The New Deal didn’t work? Tell that to the army of young men who left home during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression because their families couldn’t feed them, and ended up on the streets, in breadlines and hobo camps throughout the country. Those boys, many in their very early teens, were fed, housed, taught work skills in building projects like Red Rocks Amphitheater, and learned the discipline they would need to survive and help win World War II. As the child pirates from Somalia and some easily radicalized youth from some Middle Eastern countries have shown, young people without hope for a future are a crisis waiting to happen.
Perhaps the “Great Society,” or one public investment in solar energy, or full-day kindergarten “didn’t work” but the writer of “Feelings versus reality” only exposes his own lack of the imagination to realize that he is not representative of everyone. No solution to human problems is ever perfect, but every little Appalachian girl lifted from poverty, every inner city teen who can at last dream of something besides what he sees around him, every hardworking parent who can’t afford daycare, probably thought these things worked just fine for them. 
Not every investment we make to alleviate the problems of the future will generate instant returns. If the full-day kindergarten program didn’t improve the children’s “performance” (like kids are circus ponies) maybe that was the wrong goal. Maybe the goal needed to be refined. The writer doesn’t say. As a taxpayer, especially one who didn’t have kids to cost other taxpayers money, I can appreciate his fiscal conservatism, but I don’t agree with his idea of reality.
Carolyn Bredenberg
Littleton