2020 Mill Levy Continuation

November 4, 2020

Dear District Residents and Foothills Patrons,

We are pleased to announce that the 1.534 mill levy continuation was approved by District resident voters. The unofficial vote count resulted in 47,371 in favor, 13,763 opposed, which is an approval of over 77%!

The continuation of this mill levy will not raise your taxes; it extends an existing tax originally used to retire debt from a General Obligation Bond which will expire at the end of 2020. Moving forward with this continuation, we are energized to serve our community and focus on improvements needed throughout the District’s extensive parks and trails system and recreational facilities.

The District will continue down the path of fiscal responsibility we have been committed to over the years, working efficiently and being good stewards of taxpayer dollars. The continued funding will be used to address important capital improvements to parks, trails and facilities as outlined in the District’s Vision 2030 Master Plan, and operational priorities including:

  • Maintaining, conserving and improving parks, open spaces, and natural areas throughout the District;
  • Improving, connecting and extending recreational trails for walkers, hikers, and bikers;
  • Providing and improving existing active recreation opportunities, programs and facilities for all residents including seniors, families and children;
  • Enhancing water conservation and energy efficiency by replacing or improving aging systems.

Despite the pandemic, we will begin in 2021 with some identified projects from the Master Plan. Through the use of public input meetings, we look forward to working with residents and patrons of our great District to improve your recreation, parks and golf amenities. Stay tuned for project notices on Nextdoor.com and Foothills District e-newsletters or visit www.ifoothills.org/projects/ for information about capital projects throughout the District.

I know I speak for our Board of Directors and all of our excellent, dedicated staff members that we are excited to be able to positively work toward these continued improvements. We truly appreciate that the community believes in the cause of the District, and I pledge to you that we will work hard to effectively utilize the continued funding to make our Foothills community the best it can be for everyone.

Ronald Hopp
Executive Director

New tennis courts at Lilley Gulch
New trail on a portion of the Columbine Trail
Children playing on different play features at the Inclusive Playground in Clement Park

The additional funds will assist the District with:

  • Maintaining, conserving and improving parks, open spaces, and natural areas throughout the District;
  • Improving, connecting and extending recreational trails for walkers, hikers, and bikers;
  • Providing and improving existing active recreation opportunities, programs and facilities for all residents, including seniors, families and children;
  • Enhancing water conservation and energy efficiency by replacing or improving aging systems.

Proposed Capital Projects:

Without raising taxes, the continuation of the mill levy will support the Vision 2030 Master Plan, which features improvements recommended as part of a public process. Potential projects below are consistent with the Master Plan and will involve working with community members to finalize priorities and details of the projects.

  1. Continued improvements at all outdoor District facilities and amenities, including parks, trails and golf courses.
  2. Enhancing aging facilities to improve access and provide additional programming opportunities while also improving water/energy conservation at indoor facilities like Peak Community & Wellness Center, Lilley Gulch Recreation Center, Ridge Recreation Center, Columbine West Pool and 6th Avenue West Pool.
  3. The following specific projects have been identified as high value community needs and/or are able to leverage matching grant funds and other funding sources.
    • Dutch Creek Recreational Trail Extension from Kipling Parkway west to the C-470 Trail
    • Easton Regional Park Ball Field Addition
    • Clement Park Court Complex (Pickleball, Tennis and Basketball Courts)

What is a Mill Levy?

A mill levy is the tax rate that is applied to the assessed value of a property. Mill levy dollars are used to fund capital repairs, operational costs and equipment.

The District’s 2020 approved 1.534 mill levy continuation did not raise taxes.

What does this mean for District Residents?

The voter approved mill levy extension resulted in a continuation of an existing tax already being paid and did not increase taxes.

Frequently Asked Questions

click the + symbol to read each answer

"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 voter approved continuance of the 1.534 mills will fund capital projects throughout the District in the community’s parks, trails and facilities as well as energy and water conservation projects and operational priorities.

"How much is 1.534 mills?"

The 1.534 mill extension equates to $10.97 per year for every $100,000 in market home value.

"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.

    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    No, those taxes go toward schools and local sales tax.  As stated above, we do not receive any local sales tax.
    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.
    Yes, property taxes on a home’s market value.  Most residents of the District are paying 7.929 in operational mills.
    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.

About Foothills

A class full of participants doing tai chi.
Playground features at Blue Heron Park

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:

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 parks and facilities does Foothills operate?

Ridge Recreation Center
6613 S. Ward St., Littleton, CO 80127
Peak Community & Wellness Center
6612 S. Ward St., Littleton, CO 80127
Lilley Gulch Recreation Center
6147 S.Holland Way, Littleton, CO 80123
Edge Ice Arena
6623 S. Ward St., Littleton, CO 80127


Foothills Fieldhouse
3606 S. Independence St., Denver, CO 80235
Foothills Sports Arena
3608 S. Kipling Pkwy., Denver, CO 80235
Foothills Golf Course
3901 South Carr St., Denver 80235
Meadows Golf Club
7007 Meadows Golf Club Dr., Littleton 80127
Outdoor Pools – four locations