District Focuses on Financial Future
These are indeed the strangest of times. Unless you were around for the Spanish Flu in 1918 (and we’re guessing you were not), it is safe to say that none of us have ever endured a pandemic that has been as disruptive to our lives – personally and professionally – as COVID-19.
The economic consequences of a pandemic don’t just hit individuals and businesses – they also have the potential to affect organizations such as the Triview Metropolitan District (the District). That is why our board of directors, along with Jim McGrady, the District general manager, are working hard to ensure the financial stability of Triview in these wild economic times where many experts predict a sales tax decline.
You may be wondering why a sales tax decline matters, so by way of background, it’s important to understand what services the District provides and how the District is funded. The District is responsible for providing all street maintenance including street repairs and snow removal, parks and open space maintenance, and operating the district’s stormwater facilities.
The money to pay for these services comes from a General Fund which is derived from a 50% sales tax share from the retail businesses located on Baptist Road and Jackson Creek Parkway. The sales taxes are placed in the General Fund and used to pay for the operations and maintenance of the streets and parks departments. And, as you might expect, as the District continues to grow, there are more roads, parks and open space. When sales tax revenues decline, it puts the District in a difficult position of needing to continue to provide these essential services without the level of funding that existed before the pandemic.
In addition to the sales taxes, the District receives an annual property tax mill levy of 32 mills. (You may recall that in 2019, the District board voted to temporarily reduce the District mill levy from 35 to 32 mills, which lowered property taxes by approximately $21 per year for every $100,000 in home value.) These funds are used exclusively to pay for the principal and interest on the funds that were borrowed to construct the roads, parks and water infrastructure when the District was established in the mid-1980s.
By law, the District cannot use any of the property tax mill levy revenue for the operations of the District or maintenance of its facilities. The District’s ability to use the property tax revenue to pay for anything other the debt service on the bonds requires a vote of the residents of the District.
November Ballot for Triview’s Voter Consideration
As we mentioned, there’s a high probability that the District will see a sales taxes decline in 2021 as a result of the global pandemic. In anticipation of fewer dollars to pay for street maintenance, snow removal, parks and open space, and operating the District’s storm water facilities, the District will be asking voters to approve (temporarily) repurposing the revenue from up to 7 mills of the property tax mill levy to help pay for these services in the event major retailers close within the District’s service area. Some key questions you may have about the impact of such a vote:
Q: If the District repurposes 7 mills that are normally used to pay off the District’s debt, how does that impact the ability to pay off that debt? Does it mean that homeowners will be paying debt service longer than anticipated?
A: As the District continues to grow, especially with new commercial properties, more assessed valuation is added and therefore it takes fewer mills to pay that outstanding general obligation debt. It is very difficult to forecast the impact that repurposing 7 mills for operation and maintenance will have on assessed valuations. It is our belief that having well-maintained roads, parks and open space will add value to our residents’ homes. On a home with a $500,000 market value, the 7 mills will generate approximately $20.00 per month. That revenue will be used by the District to maintain our 80 centerline miles of road, 50 acres of parks and open space, and 10 miles of trails, thereby protecting our infrastructure and quality of life.
Q: How much does the District owe on its debt? What is the interest rate the District is paying for these bonds?
A: The District owes approximately $43.9 million, and the interest rate ranges between 4% and 5% depending upon the year the bonds were purchased.
Q: Will repurposing 7 mills to pay for District maintenance cost me more in taxes as a homeowner?
A: In the short term, no, it will not. The District intends to utilize this money to pay for operations and maintenance, in lieu of placing this money in savings for future debt repayment. It’s critical that the District keep the roads, parks and open space in top shape – letting our infrastructure suffer can have a negative impact on home values and increase repair costs in the future.
Q: What if the District doesn’t see a decrease in sales tax revenue for 2021, can those 7 mills be returned to continue to pay off the District’s debt?
A: The District cannot pre-pay the 30-year bonds that were refinanced in 2016, as they have a 10-year call provision that does not allow the bonds to be prepaid. We plan to continue to lower the mill levy in future years but, for 2021, in anticipation of less revenue from sales taxes and/or fees generated from new construction, we need to hedge against a slowdown to ensure there are adequate resources for operations and maintenance in the District. Going forward, the District will evaluate projected sales tax revenue for the upcoming year before deciding if all or a portion of the 7 mills will need to be repurposed for operations and maintenance.
Please feel free to contact James McGrady, District Manager, with any questions. The district’s budget and monthly financial statements can be reviewed at triviewmetro.com. Meeting notices and agendas also appear on the website.
New Water Meters Available for Installation
As our long, dry, hot summer continues, the District wants to remind residents that you can help control your water costs by having your existing water meter replaced at no charge. A major benefit of the new meter is that you can monitor water usage in real-time from your computer or phone, which will quickly allow you to know if there’s an issue such as a leak or if you’re over-watering. All water meters will be replaced over the next few years, so If you’re interested in replacing your water meter now rather than later, please email us: email@example.com. The process is easy and there is no cost to the homeowner.
- It will take approximately 30 minutes to change out your meter.
- Homeowners will need to be present because most water meters are located in basements.
- Homeowners will be able to schedule their appointment, and some evening/weekend hours will be available.
How did the district pay for the widening of Jackson Creek Parkway and median improvements?
The District used monies that had been saved over a number of years from sales tax revenues and vehicle registrations. These dollars had been set aside in savings, and earmarked for future projects like Jackson Creek Parkway. None of the dollars that were used to pay for Jackson Creek Parkway came from money generated by utility operations.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is allowing restaurants to open for limited-capacity indoor and outdoor dining, and we encourage you to visit our many Monument restaurants. Also, keep shopping locally when possible as the District receives a 1.5% sales tax share-back from the Town of Monument for retail businesses along Baptist Road and Jackson Creek Parkway. These taxes pay for street maintenance, including street overlays and snow removal, parks and open space maintenance, and the operation of the storm water facilities.