Did You Know……………

A new feature of quick facts about urban renewal and tax increment financing that may help to sort out what citizens are facing in Littleton.  Additional items will be added as time permits.  You are welcome to add your own by leaving comments.

Did you know………..80% of the contributions to those that oppose us were made by developers and real estate professionals, most of whom do not live or pay taxes in Littleton.  But they want access to our tax dollars to help pay for their private developments.   A contribution of $17,000 seems ridiculous for such a small election in a small community unless there was a pot of gold waiting at the end of the urban renewal rainbow.  But a small price to pay to gain access to our millions in taxes intended to fund schools, parks, the city and county services.

Did you know……2A does not stop eminent domain on the four plans that have already been approved.

Did you know…….developers have now contributed over $94,000 to defeat our right to vote in Littleton.

Did you know………that the cost of this special election is less than what the opposition (developers and real estate professionals) have spent opposing your right to vote on urban renewal plans that use eminent domain, public tax dollars for private development?

Did you know………city council and LIFT are rushing through modifications to the Santa Fe and Columbine Square urban renewal areas to TIF them both before the voters have an opportunity to weigh in via the March 3 election.  Council and the urban renewal authority are desperately trying to TIF future tax dollars for the next 25 years plus for urban renewal.  The meeting will be on February 17th – if you think council should wait and heed the election results – let them know.

Did you know…….the opposition group to our right to vote on urban renewal plans and the diversion of our tax dollars is being funded by developers, real estate professionals and CoBiz Bank.  The Apartment Association has contributed $3,000 – think they want more high density apartments in Littleton through urban renewal so they can get thousands of our tax dollars to help fund their projects?

Did you know…….the opposition group received $5,000 from a real estate group in Newport Beach, California?  Have to wonder why they would invest $5,000 in an effort to thwart our right to vote.  Follow the money – all roads lead to urban renewal and our tax dollars being diverted to private development.  You can have a voice in this scheme by voting yes on 300.

Did you know………the city will be running the election rather than the county.  The city clerk stated, at the election commission meeting, that the county clerk did not have a stake in the outcome of the election as one of the reasons why they did not want the county to run the election.  The other reasons; the county would not run an election without using signature verification and the city’s attorney (same one they use to advise them on urban renewal) advised them not to use signature verification, and city clerk stated that the county clerk does not know how to run a municipal election!

Did you know…….the election commission, by law, has all the powers and responsibilities of this election but staff seemed to be unaware of this designation.  Staff began negotiating with the county shortly after the first ballot question was certified.  It wasn’t until a citizen pointed out to the staff that they did not have the responsibility.  Finally, the election commission met for the first time on Friday, January 16 when they should have been engaged in the process weeks earlier.

Did you know……..That 744 acres in Littleton have been declared blighted and slum and constitute a growing menace, injurious to the public health, safety, morals, and welfare of the residents of Littleton.

Did you know…..Urban Renewal Authorities cannot collect tax dollars for their own purposes. They have to take tax dollars from the other taxing entities in the area. That would include Arapahoe County, Littleton Public Schools, South Suburban Park District and Urban Drainage. This is know as Tax Increment Financing or TIF.

Did you know……When an urban renewal area is approved by council the property taxes that currently exist for that entire area is determined by the County Assessor. That figure becomes what is known as the base property tax for the urban renewal area.

Did you know………The property tax base will adjust for inflation each assessment period. Any property tax collected above the base is the tax increment and that money will be diverted from the taxing entity to the urban renewal authority. The urban renewal authority believes they are entitled to that money because there would be no development in the urban renewal area if it weren’t for them.

Did you know….Arapahoe County is challenging all four urban renewal plans and the County and LIFT will be going through an arbitration process to settle their differences.

Did you know…….The Urban Renewal Law was amended in 2007 in order to eliminate the possibility of including agricultural land in an urban renewal area. Yet, the Santa Fe Plan has included agricultural land. The County Assessor will be challenging this assertion in court.

Did you know…..between 2000 and 2008 the failed Riverfront Urban Renewal board diverted $4.7 million from Littleton Public Schools to pay for the bonds of the failed 1980s project.

Did you know…..that the blight designation approved by council is all that is needed to condemn a property and proceed with eminent domain if the property owner and LIFT are unable to come to agreement on the purchase price.

Did you know…..The 2012 property tax bill for the Target at 144th and Huron lists Adams 12 schools as the recipient of about $230,000.  However Adams 12 schools received less than $10,000 with the other $220,000 going to the North Huron URA and Westminster.   (Westminster is using urban renewal to the detriment of the schools.)

Did you know………… the Council passed a resolution not to use eminent domain in any urban renewal plan unless requested by the property owner.  But, all four urban renewal plans were approved with the full use of eminent domain.  Never mind what the resolution said – the majority of the council ignored their own resolution.

Did you know………… that there will be  March 3 election with two ballot questions – both can live side by side in the city’s Charter.  One does not contradict the other.  But, Question 300 offers more protection of property rights and public tax dollars.  Question 2A does not protect public tax dollars.

Did you know……….that 2A is meaningless.  The urban renewal authority already has the full force and police powers of eminent domain.  The question is a facade intended to trick the voter into thinking you should vote yes on one question and no on the other.  A yes vote on 300 is the single vote that offers the most protection to tax payers and property owners.

Multiple contributors

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