The 33,000 special districts nationwide are local governments that provide services or infrastructure to promote the health, safety, prosperity, security, and general welfare of the inhabitants of the district. According to DOLA, there are currently 2,306 Title 32 special districts in Colorado as of November 2018, though the number regularly fluctuates as districts are created and dissolved.
The Special District Act, in Title 32, C.R.S., outlines the many different types of special districts and specifies the services that may be provided. There are several reasons why special districts are created. Typically, special districts are created to evenly divide the costs of services between all property owners and residents within the district.
Special Districts are also referred to as Taxing Authorities.
A Tax Authority is a quasi-government entity that provides services to property owners and has a distinct boundary. A taxpayer’s total mill levy is calculated based upon where their property is located and the taxing authorities serving that location. The county, towns, schools and special districts each have a separate mill levy, which is indicated on the annual tax bill you receive from the County Treasurer.
In August of each year, the Assessor certifies the total assessed value of all properties located within the boundaries of each taxing authority. Assessed values are calculated by multiplying the actual value by 29 percent for all property except residential. The residential assessment percentage is subject to change by the Colorado Legislature each odd-numbered year. By constitutional mandate, the change in percentage maintains the present balance of the tax burden between residential and all other taxpayers. The assessment rate is currently 7.15 percent on residential property.
The certified values are used by the taxing authorities to determine their mill levies. If there is any change in the assessed value due to Board of Assessment Appeal decisions, abatements or any other reason, these values are recertified to the affected taxing authorities in early December to give them the most current figures for their calculations. Tax authorities submit their mill levies to the County Commissioners by Dec. 15. The County Commissioners review the mill levies and certify the levies to the Assessor no later than Dec. 22. The Assessor then enters the approved mill levies into the assessment records and extends the calculations to include the taxes due before sending the tax warrant to the Treasurer for collection no later than Jan. 10 of the following year.
General Types of Special Districts
State law provides for several types of special districts, both general and specific.
General types of Special Districts are listed below.
Fire Protection Districts
Forest Improvement Districts
Health Assurance Districts
Health Service Districts
Mental Health Care Service Districts
Park and Recreation Districts
Water and Sanitation Districts
Grand County’s Special Districts
Below is a non-exhaustive list of Grand County’s Special Districts as of October 2019.
Blue Valley Metropolitan District
Byers View Metropolitan District
Colorado River Water Conservancy
Columbine Lake Water
Eagle County Soil Conservation District
East Grand Fire
East Grand School District / Bond
Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District / Bond
Granby Ranch Metropolitan District 1-8 / Bond
Granby West GID
Granby West Metro Metropolitan District 1-7
Grand County Library District
Grand County Water & Sanitation District 1
Grand Elk Ranch GID 1-2 / Bond
Grand Fire & Bond
Grand Lake Fire Protection District
Grand Lake Fire Bond / Bond
Grand Lake Metropolitan Recreation District / Bond
Headwaters Metropolitan District
Hot Sulphur Springs & Parshall Fire
Kremmling Memorial Hospital
Kremmling Sanitation District 1
Middle Park Soil Conservation District
Middle Park Water Conservancy
North Shore Water District
Pole Creek Meadows PID
Red Hawk Ranch Water & Sanitation
Rendezvous Arrow Metropolitan District 1-3
Rendezvous Commercial Metropolitan District
Rendezvous Residential Metropolitan District / Bond
Roam Metropolitan District 1-3
Silvercreek Water & Sanitation District
Solvista Metropolitan District
Tabernash Meadows Water & Sanitation District / Bond
Three Lakes Water & Sanitation District / Bond
Valley at Winter Park Water District
Village at Winter Park Resort Metropolitan District 1-3
West Grand School School District / Bond
West Meadow Metropolitan District
West Mountain Metropolitan District
Winter Park Ranch Water & Sanitation District / Elkhorn
Winter Park Water & Sanitation District / Bond