BILL SUMMARY for SB09-087
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT
|Votes: View--> ||Action Taken: |
10:40 AM -- Senate Bill 09-087
Representative Peniston, prime sponsor of Senate Bill 09-087, concerning increased accountability standards for special districts, presented the bill. She explained the purpose and creation of special districts and discussed why Colorado law relating to special districts should be updated. Representative Peniston explained that the public has very little information regarding the special districts that levy property taxes and she discussed how the bill will increase the public's knowledge about the elections and administration of special districts. She explained that metropolitan districts with more than $25,000 of annual revenue or authorized debt more than $1,000 per elector have more requirements under the bill. Representative Peniston addressed questions from the committee members concerning the fiscal impact of the bill. She discussed the revised fiscal impact that reduced the assumed cost of scanning and posting methods to an expenditure of $7,005 for FY 2009-10, which was less than original estimations. Committee discussion ensued concerning the diligence of homebuyers to acquire a list of all the special taxing districts on their purchased property.
Don Eberle, Colorado Special District Association, testified in support of the bill and discussed the need for amendments to the bill.
Jeff Orrok, the Libertarian Party of Colorado, testified in support of the bill and discussed the need for accountability with special districts by providing notice of a special district election and other relevant information. He explained the need for transparency in the elections and administration of special districts and discussed a specific election held by a special district that did not properly notify district voters.
Elena Nunez, Colorado Common Cause, testified in support of Senate Bill 09-087 and discussed support for an inclusive election process for special districts. She explained the advantages of mail-in ballot elections for special districts and talked about how this process dramatically increases participation of eligible electors. Ms. Nunez addressed questions from the committee members concerning the costs of elections for special districts to ensure more participation.
Pam Anderson, Colorado County Clerks Association, testified in support of the bill and discussed how county clerks coordinate elections with special district elections. Ms. Anderson discussed the costs of coordinating election ballots with special districts for general elections and talked about the obligation of county clerks and recorders to settle election recounts for special districts.
Mary Zuchegno and Don Eberle, Colorado Special District Association, testified in support of the bill and discussed the requirements for providing mail-in ballots and election results to electors. Mr. Eberle talked about the need to amend the deadline for notifying special district voters and commented on aspects of Senate Bill 09-087 that could complicate long-term financing plans of districts. Mr. Eberle discussed the purpose of metropolitan districts and explained that there are over 1,000 metropolitan districts in the state. Ms. Zuchegno explained that taxing information about special taxing districts is available through property tax information provided to homeowners. Mr. Eberle and Ms. Zuchegno discussed the process of coordinating special district elections.
Representative Peniston discussed the need for amendments to the bill to clarify what can be provided by county clerks and special districts for special district elections. Committee discussion ensued regarding the requirement that special districts provide election notices to district voters.
Crystal Korrey, Colorado Farm Bureau, testified against Senate Bill 09-087 and explained that the bill is unnecessary and burdensome on smaller special districts that have limited resources. She explained that many smaller special districts have elections that are uncontested and that there is no reason to conduct elections in such instances. Ms. Korrey addressed questions from committee members concerning language in the bill to exclude smaller special districts that have limited budgets. Committee discussion ensued.
Debi Brazzale, representing herself, testified in support of the bill, talked about the relationship between homeowners and special districts, and talked about the difficulty of acquiring information about special districts that collect property taxes. She talked about being a board member on a metropolitan district and discussed the need for information to be available to taxpayers in special districts.
Representative Peniston addressed the committee and requested that the bill be laid over until March 24th. Vice-chair Soper laid the bill over until March 24th.
The committee adjourned.