Parks Enrich our Lives and Community

On August 22, 2017, the Foothills Board of Directors approved a resolution for the November 7, 2017 Ballot that will ask voters of the District to consider an increase in the operational mill levy by 2.75 mills with a nine year sunset provision. This means that this tax, if approved by the voters of our Community, is only authorized for 9 years and will expire after the 2026 tax year.
The additional funds generated from an approved mill levy increase would assist the District with:

  • Maintaining and improving existing District parks and open spaces;
  • Extending, connecting and maintaining trails for biking and hiking;
  • Improving water conservation and energy efficiency by replacing aging systems;
  • Ensuring more parks are accessible to people with disabilities;
  • Maintaining a variety of recreational programs for seniors, children, youth and adults.

Informational Resources – to assist you with making an informed decision about this mill levy increase election, the following informational resources are available for your review.

mill-levy-cracked-sidewalks
NEED: updating and repairing trails and walkways

About Foothills

Estates Park Build Day 129
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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.

The Future of Foothills Park and Recreation District

The District has implemented efficiencies to continue to provide services to the community during tight economic times.

What have we done to improve the financial position of the District? 

  • Developed operational efficiencies to avoid facility closures and maintained most services to the public.
  • Restructured the organization, streamlined staff levels and eliminated positions to create budget savings.
  • Evaluated and reduced District assets to reduce maintenance and generate revenue.
  • Implemented “Green” projects resulting in gas, electric and water savings throughout the District.
  • Raised user fees and increased revenue streams to help offset increased operational costs.
  • Refinanced debt to save taxpayer dollars.

Despite these efforts, the District has not been able to address increasing and deferred capital needs including aging infrastructure and equipment leading to unsafe conditions and deteriorating park facilities. If additional revenues are not generated, operating deficits will require service reductions and the inability to maintain aging facilities and deteriorating parks and trails.  Costs to maintain and operate District parks and facilities continue to rise on an annual basis.

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NEED: updating aging irrigation systems for water conservation
mill-levy-turf conditions
NEED: improving maintenance of turf conditions and sports fields

The Future - an Important Message to the Community

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Foothills Park & Recreation District will be placing a question on the November 2017 ballot that will ask voters for a 2.75 mill levy increase. The District would use this additional revenue to offset rising operational costs of existing parks, trails and facilities, enhance park and facility maintenance services and fund critically needed capital repairs and capital equipment for existing parks and facilities. If a 2.75 mill increase question is approved by District voters, the new tax would be applied to property taxes starting in 2018, and would generate approximately $3.28 million annually. The additional tax will expire following the 2026 tax year.

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 fund operational costs, capital repairs and equipment.

The District’s proposal is a 2.75 mill increase with a 9 year sunset provision.

What is a Sunset?

A set time frame that a tax begins and expires. 

The District’s proposal includes a 9 year sunset. The additional tax, if approved by voters, would expire after the 2026 tax year.

What does this mean for District Residents?

A voter approved mill levy increase would result in additional property taxes of approximately $1.82 per month per $100,000 of a home’s market value.

Frequently Asked Questions

When was the last time a Mill Levy passed?

Foothills’ residents and business owners last approved a mill levy increase of 1 mill in 2000.

Prior to that, it was also a 1 mill increase in 1982.

"Don't my taxes fund 100% of the operations at Foothills?"

No.

In 2017, approximately 75% of Foothills’ operational 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 25% of operational 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 Jefferson County, City of Littleton or the State of Colorado?"

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 30% 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 $460,000 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.
  • MARIJUANA SALES?
    No, those taxes go toward schools and local sales tax.  As stated above, we do not receive any local sales tax.
  • MY TAXES?
    Yes, property taxes on a home’s market value.  Most residents of the District are paying 7.191 mills. If the election is successful, the mill levy will increase by 2.75 mills. However, the general obligation bond debt from 2000 (which is 2.001 mills) is scheduled to retire in 2020.
  • NON-PROPERTY TAX REVENUES: USER FEES, ADMISSIONS, RENTALS?
    Yes, they make up approximately 75% of the District’s revenues.  To offset our budget and be more efficient, we have instituted changes that have led to an increase of 32.57% from 2007 – 2016 in admission fees. An average of 3.62% per year equaling an additional $2,776,536 annually.

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.

What is the difference between a Mill Levy and a Bond?

Mill Levy dollars fund operations for things like maintenance, supplies, capital repairs, equipment, etc.

Bonds are used to fund major capital projects like renovating existing buildings/parks, new buildings, etc.

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