UPDATED 5:14 p.m. Nov. 10: Road quality has made a name as one of the top issues in Castle Pines over the years, and those in favor of a proposed sales tax to fund road repair and maintenance amassed a wide lead according to the unofficial results just before 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 8.
(Those remained the most recent results available through the afternoon of Nov. 10.)
Meanwhile, a mostly administrative measure that would transfer — but for most areas, not raise — property taxes to the City of Castle Pines instead of often-smaller local government bodies called “metro districts” also garnered sound support as of that time. That ballot measure concerns funding that goes to parks and recreation.
Castle Pines Ballot Issue 2E, the roads tax, saw “yes” votes at about 54% and “no” votes at about 46%, with about 6,400 votes counted.
Castle Pines Ballot Issue 2F, the property tax measure, saw “yes” votes at about 53% and “no” votes at about 47%, with about 6,400 votes counted.
MORE ELECTION NEWS
Here’s more on each of Castle Pines’ two ballot questions for this election.
Roads sales tax
The City of Castle Pines asked residents to support a 1% sales-and-use tax increase to specifically fund road repairs, maintenance and “capital improvement” — or infrastructure — projects in Castle Pines, the city’s website says.
“A dedicated sales tax would be paid not only by residents but also by visitors who purchase goods and services in the city,” the website says.
If passed, the measure would bring in an estimated $4.5 million in revenue in 2024.
That would include $1.8 million from sales tax, $2 million from building-materials use tax paid by developers and $800,000 from motor vehicle use tax, the website says.
The city also pointed to property taxes in explaining the proposal. A “mill levy” is a property tax rate. A mill is a $1 payment on every $1,000 of “assessed value” of a property.
For example, in a tax area with a mill levy of 10 mills, a residential property owner pays about $10 for every $1,000 in assessed value.
Castle Pines residents currently pay 4.5 mills of property tax to the City of Castle Pines, but “all of that funding goes directly to Douglas County exclusively for public safety services,” the city’s website says. “So that revenue is not available for road maintenance.”
A dedicated tax for road maintenance and infrastructure is common among Colorado cities, the city website claims.
Even with this new tax,Castle Pines would still have one of the lowest sales tax rates among cities along the Front Range, the website says.
Surrounding municipalities have sales tax rates of 2.8% in Lone Tree, 3% in Parker and 4% in Castle Rock, the website says.
The city’s current sales tax rate is 2.75%. With the Colorado sales tax of 2.9%, Douglas County sales tax of 1% and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District Sales Tax of 0.10%, the current overall total sales tax in Castle Pines is 6.75%, the website says.
If the roads sales tax passes, the tax rate would increase to 7.75%.
If passed, the tax would sunset, or expire, in 20 years.
Parks property tax measure
The city also asked residents to support a property tax of 12 mills for the city to manage public parks, trails, recreation and open space.
A majority of local metropolitan districts — a type of local government that can provide some government services, such as Highlands Ranch or the Castle Pines North metro districts — would then permanently reduce 12 mills of their property tax collection, transferring those mills to the city, the city’s website says.
Because the measure would approve a transfer of taxes, it would cause no net increase in the property tax mill levy for most homeowners, according to the city.
Homeowners in the North Pine Vistas Metro District, where homeowners pay into two metro districts — North Pine Vistas and Castle Pines North metro districts — would see a net decrease in property tax mills, the city’s website says.
Because homeowners in the Hidden Pointe area do not currently pay property tax for parks, trails, recreation and open space, they would see a 12-mill increase if the measure passes, the website says.
In terms of residents who live within other metro district boundaries, Camden Bender, city spokesperson, said he was not aware of any other location in the city that would see that increase in property taxes.
Currently, each metro district in Castle Pines is responsible for maintaining parks, trails and open space within its boundaries, the website says. Approving the tax transfer would consolidate all parks and recreation management under the city government.
Consolidating that management under the city “will provide several benefits, including the ability to negotiate one single maintenance contract for the entire city, which will provide economies of scale that save money,” the website says. It would also “make it easier for the city to ensure consistent levels of service and amenities at all city-managed parks, trails and open space areas.”
The Castle Pines North Metropolitan District Board of Directors passed a resolution expressing support for the measure, according to the city.
The mill levy and the value of a property are two parts of the equation that determine homeowners’ tax payments. The “assessment rate” is the third part.
For property classified as single-family residential, the current assessment rate is 6.765% of market value, according to the state’s website.
That means the “assessed value” is about 6.765% of the property’s actual value, which is determined by the county assessor.
Then, the assessed value multiplied by the mill levy, or property tax rate, in a homeowner’s area determines the property tax payment.
Community elections are dynamic, so this story may be updated as new information becomes available.
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