Parks Enrich our Lives and Community

November 8, 2017

Dear District Residents and Foothills Patrons,

We are very pleased to announce that the 2.75 mill levy increase with the 9 year sunset provision was approved by District resident voters! The unofficial vote count resulted in 13,712 in favor, 9,855 opposed.

The District will continue down the path it has been on since 2008 of working efficiently and being excellent stewards of taxpayer dollars. We will use the additional funds to: provide better park maintenance, improve conditions of parks and sports fields, improve neighborhood and community parks, improve outdated and failing equipment, repair and enhance trails for better connectivity, repair facilities and offset the overall increasing operational and maintenance costs.

We’ll begin in 2018 with the neighborhood parks and trails improvements that were outlined in our mill levy plan. Through that process, we look forward to working with the many HOAs, neighborhoods and all patrons of our great District. Stay tuned for project notices on Nextdoor.com and our e-newsletters.

I know I speak for our Board of Directors and all of our outstanding, dedicated staff members that we are excited to be able to positively work toward improving maintenance of parks and facilities and perform numerous capital projects to improve neighborhood parks and trails. We truly appreciate that the community believes in the mission of the District and I pledge to you that we will work hard to effectively utilize the additional funding to make our community the best it can be for everyone.

Ronald Hopp
Executive Director

mill levy approved

– Our Mission –
Creating Community,
Enhancing Health,
Inspiring Play

The additional funds will 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

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 2017 approved 2.75 mill increase includes a 9 year sunset provision.

What is a Sunset?

A set time frame that a tax begins and expires. 

The District’s 2017 approved mill increase includes a 9 year sunset. The additional tax will expire after the 2026 tax year.

What does this mean for District Residents?

The voter approved mill increase results in additional property taxes of approximately $1.65 per month per $100,000 of a home’s market value.

Example: a homeowner with a $400,000 house would pay an additional $79.20 per year.

Frequently Asked Questions

click the + symbol to read each answer

Since the mill levy was approved by voters, what is Foothills planning to do?

When was the last time a Mill Levy passed?

Prior to 2017, 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 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 $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.
  • 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 course 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.
  • 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 7.191 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.

Since the mill levy was approved by voters, what will happen to services and capital projects after 9 years?

At the end of 2026, the sunset provision would expire the additional 2.75% tax. Assuming the District is good stewards of tax dollars during those 9 years and residents are happy with the level of services provided and the capital projects accomplished, the District would likely ask voters for an extension of the tax.

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.

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