The 2023 legislative session was critically important for the Metro District Education Coalition. Playing both offense and defense, our organization scored wins for current and future metro district residents by increasing transparency and accountability in the market while protecting Colorado’s ability to provide affordable housing through metro district financing tools.
With bipartisan sponsors – Sens. Janice Marchman and Rachel Zenzinger and Reps. Cathy Kipp and Rick Taggert – MDEC introduced SB23-110, dubbed the Transparency for Metro Districts bill, to proactively create more transparency and accountability within districts and codify industry best practices. Gov. Jared Polis signed the bill into law on April 3, 2023.
The bill requires:
- Cities and counties impose a mill levy AND a debt limit cap for service plans so residents and property owners are assured their property taxes won’t go above a certain level and that the overall debt is limited.
- Annual townhall meetings for metro district boards with residents, which must include a presentation on the status of the public infrastructure projects within the district, any outstanding debt and a review of the unaudited financial statements showing year-to-date revenues and expenditures.
- A public comment period during the annual budget meeting.
- Developer debt checks and balances to ensure the debt issued to the developer is at the same or lower rates and terms as those issued to the public market, and those rates and terms are certified by a fiduciary regulated by the SEC.
- Real estate disclosures – service plan, mill levy and debt limitations, budget, audit, election information, contact information for directors – for resale of residential property during the early due diligence process prior to escrow monies going hard so buyers can make an informed decision.
At the same time, MDEC and its allies successfully worked to defeat a bill that directly conflicted with SB 23-110 and would have impeded Colorado’s ability to provide affordable housing. Under the bill, the probability that builders and developers would be reimbursed for the public infrastructure they constructed was significantly reduced, eliminating the value of metro districts as a too land requiring costs otherwise financed over time to be built into the initial sales price of a home – pricing many buyers out of the market.
Finally, the legislature passed a bill, HB23-1105, that created two separate taskforces for HOA’s and metro districts to address homeowner concerns. The legislature’s intent was that the taskforces be balanced to allow for productive and fair outcomes. We are looking forward to participating in this process, and we will keep you informed as it moves forward.