The Upper Pine River Fire Protection District is asking residents to free the district from the limits of the Gallagher Amendment.
Ballot Issue 7A would allow the district to keep funds property owners are already paying. The measure would not increase the dollar amount paid in residential property taxes.
“We do not need any more money, we are asking to keep what you are already giving us,” Upper Pine wrote on its Facebook page.
Colorado voters approved the Gallagher Amendment in 1982. It states property taxes on homes can account for only 45 percent of property taxes that special districts receive.
In many rural districts like Upper Pine, The Gallagher Amendment means property taxes on residential properties continues to go down – eventually creating a budgetary crunch, said Upper Pine Chief Bruce Evans.
A video on Upper Pine’s Facebook page explains the ratcheting-down effects of the Gallagher Amendment on rural fire districts.
Exploding home prices on the Front Range have knocked that funding formula out of whack, resulting in cuts to budgets in rural fire districts, the video explains. The video was produced by the Colorado Fiscal Institute, with support from the Colorado State Fire Chiefs.
When the residential assessment rate went down from 7.9 percent to 7.2 percent in 2017, Evans said Upper Pine received $100,000 less in property tax revenue from the homes within the district.
Ballot Issue 7A would allow the district to set a floor on the amount of revenue received from property taxes at the 7.2 residential assessment rate for 2017.
Evans said the measure would allow the district to increase its mill levy so its tax revenue from homes in the district would be equal to the 7. 2 percent residential assessment rate in 2017. The mill levy would be adjusted each time the residential assessment rate decreases under provisions of the Gallagher Amendment.
Upper Pine staff and board members can discuss Ballot Issue 7A with groups or interested taxpayers.
“We really wish the state Legislature would have fixed this, but unfortunately they did not,” Evans wrote on the district’s Facebook page.