Arapahoe County Prevails Over the Aurora Urban Renewal Challenge on TIF
(Italics are used to denote actual language from the Court’s Judgment Case #16CA0393)
On February 23, 2017 Judges Graham Taubman and J.J. Navarro found in favor of Arapahoe County on the timing of Aurora’s urban renewal tax increment financing (TIF). The Urban Renewal Law (URL):
“authorizes the use of tax increment financing (TIF) to fund renewal projects. TIF uses recently assessed property values in an urban renewal area to establish a base tax value. § 31-25-107(9)(a), C.R.S. 2014. As property values increase above the base value, increased tax revenues are allocated to the financing of the renewal project.”
At issue was whether or not all four of the TIF provisions in the Fitzsimmons Urban Renewal Plan had started.
“The parties disagree as to the meaning of “the effective date of adoption of such a provision” with provision referring to TIF. Aurora argues that the “effective date of adoption of such a provision” is different from the “effective date of the approval of such urban renewal plan,” and allows a city to delay the “effective date of adoption of such a provision” by writing a delay into the urban renewal plan.
The Assessor argues that the “effective date of adoption of such a provision” is synonymous with the “effective date of the approval of such urban renewal plan,” and that a city cannot delay the “effective date of adoption of such a provision” by writing a delay into the urban renewal plan.”
This decision has implications to Littleton’s Urban Renewal Plans, which we hope the LIFT board will take notice. The citizens of Arapahoe County should be very grateful that we have such a talented group serving the County in our Assessor’s office and the office of the District Attorney. They are looking out for us.
To read the entire Court ruling please follow click here.
Tuesday, June 7th a ruling was issued by Judge Pratt declaring the disputed agricultural land in the Santa Fe Urban Renewal Plan was not legally included and sided with Arapahoe County’s exclusion of the disputed land from the Santa Fe Urban Renewal plan. (Go to www.littletonviews.com to read the ruling.) What does this mean? There’s good news and bad news. First the good news!
- The Ensor property and the property where Breckenridge Brewery is located makes up the majority of the ag land in dispute.The exclusion also means that there will be no tax increment financing (TIF) collected for the next 25 years from these properties – property and sales tax increment.That is good news for the taxpayers of Littleton.
- A development on the Ensor property will have to be done without the use of TIF. Again, good news for the taxpayers of Littleton.
- Arapahoe County, Littleton Public Schools, South Suburban, Urban Drainage and the City of Littleton will all receive the taxes that would have been diverted to LIFT (Littleton’s Urban Renewal Authority) for 25 years.
- Since Michael Penny, the late city manager has stated that he really was only interested in developing the Santa Fe Urban Renewal Area and the “cash cow” of the Santa Fe Area is no longer part of the plan it might be easier for the council to abolish the entire urban renewal authority in Littleton.(Brinkman is also on record as saying she did not think there would be any development through the use of urban renewal so it should be easy for her to repeal all four plans.)
The bad news:
- Littleton taxpayers picked up the legal tab for this legal dispute.We will try to ascertain just how many thousands of dollars this cost the taxpayers.
- LIFT could appeal the case. If they do it will cost the taxpayers once again as they still have no money except the money the taxpayers have loaned them.
- The Ensor property could develop under the current zoning and a metro district could be formed to cover the costs that TIF would have covered.