Foothills Park & Recreation District serves 93,000 residents in unincorporated Jefferson County while managing over 2,400 acres. District facilities include Ridge Recreation Center & Pools, Peak Community & Wellness Center, Lilley Gulch Recreation Center & Pool, Edge Ice Arena, Foothills Fieldhouse, Foothills Sports Arena, Foothills Golf Course, Meadows Golf Club and four outdoor pools. The District offers thousands of classes and several community events. The District’s 68 park sites include:
- 43 neighborhood & community parks and 21 greenbelts
- 4 regional parks – Clement Park, Easton Regional Park, Fehringer Ranch Park and Schaefer Athletic Complex
- 6 regional trail corridors, which, combined with parks trails total more than 31 miles
Foothills’ parks, trails and open spaces provide places for relaxation, for families to play and socialize, active areas for sports and for children to explore nature.
"What does a Mill Levy continuation mean?"
The tax increase was originally approved by voters in 2000 and the revenues generated from the mill levy paid the debt on General Obligation Bonds that were used for various capital projects throughout the District. These bonds will be paid in full at the end of 2020 and the debt will be retired. Without raising taxes, the District is asking voters to approve a continuance of the 1.534 mills to continue to fund capital projects in the community’s parks, trails and facilities as well as energy and water conservation projects and operational priorities.
"How much will I save if the 1.534 mill levy continuation is not approved by the voters?"
If the mill levy is not extended, you will save $10.97 per year for every $100,000 in market home value.
For example, if your home is worth $500,000, you would save $54.85 per year.
"Don't my taxes fund 100% of the operations at Foothills?"
No. In 2020, approximately 61% of Foothills’ revenue comes from non-property tax sources such as User Fees, Admission Fees, Rentals, Conservation Trust Funds (Lottery) and Specific Ownership Tax (a portion of license plates). This means approximately 39% of Foothills’ revenue comes from property taxes. Foothills District resident’s property taxes primarily support a portion of park operations and our outdoor pools while other District facilities including the recreation centers, ice arena and golf courses generate a net revenue to help offset costs elsewhere in the District.
Parks and their amenities cost money to maintain and many do not generate much revenue. Some park amenities are several decades old and are in need of renovation and replacement.
"Don't you receive operational funding / taxes from Colorado Lottery, Jefferson County, City of Littleton, the State of Colorado and other sources?"
We receive several questions regarding who and where we receive funding. Below, we’ve address some of the most common questions.
- JEFFERSON COUNTY, CITY OF LITTLETON or CITY OF LAKEWOOD?
No. We are not a branch of any of these or any other entity. We are a separate entity with our own taxing authority. All tax revenue and other funds we collect go to serve your parks and recreation needs.
- SALES TAXES?
No. The only taxes we collect are property taxes from residential and commercial properties (makes up about 25% of our revenues) and a small portion of ownership taxes from Jefferson County license plate purchases/renewals.
- COLORADO LOTTERY FUNDS?
Yes, but the amount is only about $490,000 per year, which is less than 2% of the District’s overall budget. Half of the proceeds from Colorado Lottery are distributed to organizations state-wide. The type of entity (county vs. city vs. special district, etc.) determines how much funding is received. Because we are a Special District, we receive less funding than most.
- GREAT OUTDOORS COLORADO (GOCO)?
From time to time, we receive grant funding from GOCO, however it is a grant process that 1.) requires matching dollars; 2.) is a highly competitive process that is not guaranteed; and 3.) their focus is typically on larger, special projects distributed throughout the state. This is not an annual assured funding source for the District. GOCO invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers and open spaces. Their independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts. The District has recently received a GOCO funding grant to assist with the construction of the Clement Park Splash Park and an additional GOCO grant to assist with the funding for the Clement Park Inclusive Playground.
- MARIJUANA SALES?
No, those taxes go toward schools and local sales tax. As stated above, we do not receive any local sales tax.
- GAMING TAXES (CASINOS)?
No, those taxes go toward financial aid and classroom instruction at Colorado community, junior, and district colleges, impacts of gaming payments to Gilpin and Teller Counties and impacts of gaming payments to the towns of Central City, Black Hawk and Cripple Creek.
- MY TAXES?
Yes, property taxes on a home’s market value. Most residents of the District are paying 7.929 in operational mills.
- NON-PROPERTY TAX REVENUES: USER FEES, ADMISSIONS, RENTALS?
Yes, they make up approximately 61% of the District’s revenues.
"Does Foothills have the ability to increase my taxes in the future without a vote from the people?"
No, because of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, more commonly known as TABOR, Foothills can NEVER raise the mill levy rate without an election which must go to the voters of the District to decide.
"The ballot language says that Foothills is proposing to continue collecting 1.534 mills without raising taxes. This really won’t raise my taxes?”
Yes, this is correct, your taxes will not go up if you were to vote in favor of this ballot initiative.