Letter to the Community

 

Dear District Residents and Patrons:

 

During 2016, the District continued its mission to Create Community, Enhance the Community’s Health and Inspire Play throughout our many parks and open spaces, recreation centers and facilities, golf courses and trails. Some of the highlights include:

  • Clement Park renovations funded by grants and the refinancing of District debt. 2016 primarily focused on replacement of an almost 30 year old, inefficient irrigation system. Renovations planned in 2017 and 2018 include: an interactive water play area, restored restrooms, rebuild the concession/restroom building (in the softball complex), rebuild of field 5 and improvements to the amphitheater area, lake area, and lighting improvements in parking lots and walking trails. View full renovation project details
  • Acquisition of the Foothills Fieldhouse located in the Schaefer Athletic Complex at Kipling and Hampden.  The nearly 55,000 sq. ft. building (assessed value of over $6.5 million) was purchased for $1.4 million with funds obtained from the sale of vacant lands.  The Foothills Fieldhouse offers a hard surface arena and a synthetic turf arena and is home to a growing number of sports and fitness programs as well as rental opportunities for a myriad of activities.
  • A new website including an online program registration system. These improvements have streamlined processes and created more user friendly online experiences.
  • Continued minor improvements to facilities as budgets allow, ensuring quality and competitive experiences for patrons.

 

Future Financial Challenges

Since the failed mill levy increase election in 2008 and a change in leadership at that time, the District has assessed and altered all areas of our budget with the ultimate goal of being excellent stewards of your tax dollars.  With continued rising costs and no change in our mill levy rate, we have remained solvent through workforce reorganizations, sales of lands and property assets, and focused on generating revenues through increased yet still competitive user fees.

Despite strong leadership by the Board of Directors and staff, challenges to the overall fiscal health of the organization are compounded by the following:

  • The District’s Mill levy rate for operations has not increased in 17 years, since the year 2000.
  • Maintenance, operations and utility costs rise annually.
  • Aging infrastructure of parks, trails and facilities, some of which are more than 40 years old, create potentially unsafe and deteriorating conditions.
  • Due to the large number of part time hourly employees the District uses to provide the thousands of programs and park maintenance for the community, the recent Colorado voter approved increase to the minimum wage will cost the District more than $400,000 annually when fully implemented.
  • The Gallagher Amendment, a 1982 Colorado voter approved law, will roll back assessed property values starting in 2018 and likely reduce the revenue generated from residential property taxes in future years.

 

Solution

The District has a strong goal to continue to offer quality park and recreation services.  However, deferred improvements to parks, trails and facilities continue to grow more costly.  With additional funding, the District would be able to continue to provide quality services and will be able to concentrate on the deferred capital needs and critical repairs. Addressing these renovations will:

  • Improve usability, and increase property values for District homeowners.
  • Fix unsafe equipment or areas inaccessible to people with disabilities.
  • Result in operational savings due to more efficient systems.
  • Continue maintenance and enhancements to your parks and trails.

In order to achieve the goal of maintaining services and enhancing the quality of life for the residents of the District, there is a consideration to place a mill levy increase on a ballot measure sometime in the near future.

Here’s what you can do to stay informed and help your Foothills District to spread this news:

  • Request a speaker to give a presentation to your HOA or other group. Email: info@fhprd.org

 

Thank you for your time and for helping to make the District a great place to live,

Tim W. James, Chair of Foothills Board of Directors

Ronald Hopp, Executive Director