Boulder County is moving forward with plans to repay $ 5.6 million in assessments paid by homeowners after officials have announced they do not appeal to a judge's ruling that the county has exceeded its authority to form a district local improvement to pay for the repaving of roads in rural subdivisions.
In a statement sent by email Monday afternoon, county officials said the board of commissioners "accepted" the court's decision.
Plans to start paving in August with money raised through assessments are now pending, county officials said.
"We returned to the starting point in so many ways," said Boulder County Commissioner Cindy Domenico. "It's difficult."
Chuck Wibby, one of the subdivision homeowners who sued the county, said he was "very disappointed" that the county is about to stop the planned work, which would rehabilitate 13.2 miles of road.
"They are denying their commitment," he said.
And, after a Monday night meeting of a group of local anti-improvement district citizens who self-proclaimed Boulder County Fairness in Road Maintenance, Wibby issued a statement explaining how the subdivision roads could be repaired without new taxes.
"BoCo FIRM believes that the repair of non-Boulder County subdivision roads can be completed in five years (2014-2018) at a total cost of $ 15 million to $ 20 million," said the group statement.
"The funding can be spread from the county's current income streams without the need for new taxes," he said, offering a detailed plan on how he believes the goal can be achieved.
Boulder County commissioners are having to figure out how to cover the multi-million dollar bill to rehabilitate some 150 miles of county roads paved in about 120 residential subdivisions.
A damaged road section near the intersection of North 75th Street and Arlington Drive was visited on Monday, July 28th in Boulder County. (Jeremy Papasso / Daily Camera)
In a ruling dated Friday, made public on Sunday, senior district judge J. Robert Lowenbach ruled that Boulder County passed legal authority last year when it set up a local improvement district for subdivision flooring and assessed the properties within that district to pay most of the costs of repaving those roads.
This leaves Boulder County with a gap of $ 57.6 million in what it was expected to collect from those homeowners during the 15-year life of the road rehabilitation program.
In recent years, county officials have claimed that there is not enough money in the Road and Bridge fund for Boulder County's annual budget to pay for the replacement, rebuilding or repaving of those subdivision roads, which are located at the outside the boundaries of cities and countries.
The current County Commissioners' Council and its predecessors have stated that Boulder County has carried out routine maintenance on such rural subdivision roads – filling holes, sealing cracks and plowing snow, for example – and would continue to do so. .
However, citing policies that date back to at least the mid-1990s, county commissioners have stated that the most expensive task of rehabilitating aging subdivisions whose original flooring has deteriorated is the responsibility of the owners properties in those subdivisions, not the county of.
Many sub-division homeowners do not agree with that official county location. They claimed that once Boulder County accepted the streets of each subdivision as complying with county standards, rehabilitation of those streets was a form of maintenance whose funding is the responsibility of the county, not theirs.
Commissioner Dominic said the county had been trying for years to find a way to pay for repairs, with the LID "the last tool we thought we had available".
He said the next step is a dialogue with property owners about options.
The county officials estimated that the price of 15 years for the price of road rehabilitation would have been about $ 72 million, with the county of Boulder covering $ 14.4 million of spending and owners of subdivision properties valued the remaining $ 57.6 million.
Boulder County has imposed ratings on owners of approximately 10,900 subdivision properties. Evaluations have come this year, even if property owners have had the opportunity to make payments in annual installments instead of paying the full assessment all at once.
Chuck Wibby, president of Boulder County Fairness in Road Maintenance, stands in front of his home in South Meadow Drive, Monday, July 28, in Boulder County.
Jeremy Papasso / Camera (Jeremy Papasso)
Of the $ 5.6 million that was raised, $ 1.96 million came from the ones that paid in full and $ 3.64 million were from annual installments. The average total cost for an owner was $ 4,272.
In November, eight homeowners, with the support of BoCo FIRM, filed a lawsuit in Boulder District Court for the creation of the local county improvement district, arguing that it did not apply to the types of situations enunciated in state law.
On Friday, Judge Lowenbach is in agreement with those enemies of the LIDs. He established that the district's formation was "invalidated" and ordered that the valuations so far collected by the owners of the subdivision properties be reimbursed, with interest.
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