How We Move: Transportation In Castle Pines
QUESTION 2A: ELECTION RESULTS
Unofficial elections results are now available through Douglas County.
Castle Pines Question 2A did not pass. Results are as follows:
Yes votes: 3,177 (42.48%)
No votes: 4,302 (57.52%)
MESSAGE FROM THE MAYOR
In the November video message, Mayor Tera Radloff thanks residents for taking part in the elections.
PRIORITIZING OUR ROADS
The City of Castle Pines has determined that the voters of Castle Pines should be allowed the opportunity to decide whether or not they would support upgrades to their roadway systems, specifically the reconstruction of Castle Pines Parkway and Monarch Boulevard. Over the years, residents have voiced their concerns about the safety and maintenance of streets and have asked the City to prioritize transportation projects.
FUNDING THE PROPOSAL
On November 3, 2020, voters have the opportunity to decide on a funding for the maintenance and improvements to Castle Pines Parkway and Monarch Boulevard.
On September 1, 2020, Council Members formally approved Resolution No. 20-30, which sets the ballot language for the November 3, 2020 City special election, which will appear on the ballot as Question 2A.
Question 2A asks voters if they would allow the City to borrow $30 million to fund and complete the necessary roadway improvements in a more expeditious manner than the current budget allows, and if voters would be in favor of increasing property taxes to repay this debt. With current interest rates, the City estimates that the property tax rate increase will be 6.2 mills or approximately $222 per year for a home valued at $500,000. If interest rates should change, the City mill rate may not generate more than $1,800,000 annually.
To build a community where residents can live, work and play requires public investment, commercial development, and cooperation among community organizations to maximize funding and services.
ROAD MAINTENANCE IN CASTLE PINES
Funding transportation needs is a practical investment that ensures that the high cost of replacing infrastructure is minimized by allowing for thoughtful improvements and maintenance over time. It’s more cost effective to patch a hole in a pair of pants than it is to buy a new pair of jeans. The same is true of our transportation systems.
Castle Pines Parkway and Monarch Blvd. have reached the end of their useful life, you get to decide if now is the right time to reconstruct the roads.
HOW IS THE QUESTION POSED ON THE BALLOT?
THE ADOPTED BALLOT LANGUAGE IS AS FOLLOWS:
SHALL THE CITY OF CASTLE PINES DEBT BE INCREASED UP TO $30,000,000 WITH A REPAYMENT COST OF UP TO $60,000,000 AND SHALL CITY OF CASTLE PINES TAXES BE INCREASED UP TO $1,800,000 ANNUALLY, SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING:
THE PROCEEDS OF THE DEBT SHALL BE USED TO FINANCE ROAD IMPROVEMENTS, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: MAINTENANCE AND FUTURE IMPROVEMENTS TO CASTLE PINES PARKWAY; MAINTENANCE AND FUTURE IMPROVEMENTS TO MONARCH BOULEVARD; AND CONNECTED DRAINAGE FACILITIES, SIDEWALKS AND PEDESTRIAN SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS; THE DEBT MAY BE PAID FROM A MILL LEVY ON ALL TAXABLE PROPERTY WITHIN THE CITY AT A RATE SUFFICIENT TO PAY THE PRINCIPAL OF, PREMIUM, IF ANY, AND INTEREST ON SUCH DEBT OR ANY REFUNDING DEBT BUT NOT MORE THAN $1,800,000; THE MILL LEVY MAY NOT BE IMPOSED AFTER TAX LEVY YEAR 2055; THE DEBT MAY CONSIST OF GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS OR OTHER MULTIPLE FISCAL YEAR FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS AS DETERMINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL; THE DEBT MAY BE SOLD IN ONE SERIES OR MORE IN AN AGGREGATE AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED THE MAXIMUM AUTHORIZED PRINCIPAL AMOUNT AND REPAYMENT COSTS, ON TERMS AND CONDITIONS AS THE CITY COUNCIL MAY DETERMINE, INCLUDING PROVISIONS FOR THE REDEMPTION OF THE BONDS PRIOR TO MATURITY WITH OR WITHOUT PAYMENT OF A PREMIUM; AND THE PROCEEDS OF ANY SUCH DEBT AND THE REVENUE FROM SUCH TAXES, ANY OTHER REVENUE USED TO PAY SUCH DEBT AND INVESTMENT EARNINGS THEREON MAY BE COLLECTED, RETAINED AND SPENT BY THE CITY AS A VOTER APPROVED REVENUE CHANGE WITHOUT REGARD TO ANY SPENDING, REVENUE-RAISING OR OTHER LIMITATION CONTAINED IN ARTICLE X, SECTION 20 OF THE COLORADO CONSTITUTION, OR ANY OTHER LAW?
Reconstruction is a significant undertaking. Review the detailed cost breakdown of this important effort.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. If passed, what will the ballot issue fund?
If voters say yes, the City of Castle Pines would receive, up to, $1.8M per year, for 30 years, to the following:
• Maintenance and future improvements to Castle Pines Parkway
• Maintenance and future improvements to Monarch Boulevard
• Connected drainage facilities, sidewalks and pedestrian safety improvements
2. Is there a sunset provision with this ballot question?
The ballot question will sunset when the debt of $30M is paid off. It’s anticipated to be paid off in 30 years.
3. How long will our roads be under construction?
The phasing of the projects has not been determined yet. However, we are estimating 4-6 years for completion. The City will work with the public to ensure that the projects are done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
4. How much will my property taxes increase if this ballot question passes?
Today, on a home that is worth $500k, the homeowner will pay between $222 and $287 per year. However, as more homes are built in Castle Pines, more residents will be paying into the City’s property tax fund which will potentially allow for rates to be reduced.
5. What accountability will there be for the expenditure of these monies?
The monies will be in a restricted fund and may only be used for the purposes laid out in the ballot question. As part of the annual budgeting process, City Council will have to publicly report how the monies in this fund are spent.
6. Will my taxes be increased in perpetuity?
No. If approved, the $30M debt will be financed over a 30-year period, and will be retired no later than 2055. Once the debt is paid off, property taxes will be lowered by the amount required to pay off the debt. It is estimated that the mill levies for the debt will be approximately 6.2 mills to 8 mills.
7. If interest rates skyrocket, how much will the City have to pay back on the $30M it borrowed?
The City expects to be able to enter the bond market at an interest rate of 2.25% around December 1, 2020. Repayment cost of $30M debt at 2.25% would be approximately $41.6M. However, the ballot question caps the amount that the City can collect at $60M. It is important to note that the City cannot collect more than the debt payment amount.
8. Will my sales tax go up as a result of this ballot question?
No, only property taxes will be increased under this measure.
9. Can the City use the funds for something other than roads?
No, the City must use the funds for the purposes stated in the ballot question
10. Does the City already receive a portion of my property taxes?
The City of Castle Pines’ property tax is 4.5 mills and that can only be used for law enforcement and Public Safety. 100% of the proceeds received from the 4.5 mills goes to fund the City’s contract with Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. Click here for further details about property taxes for the City of the Castle Pines.
11. How is road maintenance and improvements currently funded?
The funding source for roads is almost exclusively the general fund which receives revenue from sales and use tax.
12. Where does FASTER registration fees go?
The fees collected go into the state transportation system for two primary uses per State Statute – the Road Safety Fund and the Bridge Special Fund – local jurisdictions do not see any of this money. These funds can only be used on the state highway system. Click here to learn more about FASTER registration fees.
13: Why ask voters this question while we are recovering from a pandemic and budgets are tight?
As a City, we are sensitive to the impacts that COVID-19 has had on our residents and businesses. We are also sensitive to the ability of our residents and business people to get to and from their homes and jobs safely and without costly damage to their vehicles. The reality is, Castle Pines Parkway and Monarch Boulevard have over 30 years of wear and tear on them and there are not resources for the City to rebuild them in a timely manner without a new funding source. Question 2A is a practical investment in the future of Castle Pines and the safety of our community. With the low-interest rates that the market is experiencing, we can invest in our roads today at a lower cost than what we may be able to tomorrow. Deferring the maintenance and rehabilitation of our roads will cost more, the longer it is deferred. Whether the cost is in interest rates or simply greater deterioration that requires more costly engineering and infrastructure. Investing in our roads is not a frivolous expenditure. Investing in our roads ensures the safe movement of our children and residents as they travel to school, work and our beautiful outdoors. Safe roads allow our customers to easily access our businesses and help bring our economy back to life. Investing in roads today is practical and necessary and will save us money over time.
14: Are there any proactive steps the City can take that are necessary, whether Question 2A passes or not, but will help move things along more quickly should the voters approve the measure?
The City has completed a Request for Proposal (RFP) process for the engineering work. The engineer that was selected through the process is working on surveying Castle Pines Parkway from Village Square Terrace to Monarch Boulevard. The soils engineer has also applied for right-of-way permits from the City for soil borings in the same section of roads. Finally, the City has had two meetings between the City of Castle Pines and the Castle Pines North Metro District to develop a joint set of plans for the section east of Yorkshire to Monarch Boulevard.
15: Why is it so imperative that our roads be fixed now? Wouldn’t it be better to wait to raise taxes until the economy recovers?
There is no price tag that can be placed on the wellbeing of our Castle Pines residents. Council has repeatedly prioritized the safety of our Castle Pines residents and Question 2A is a continuation of those efforts. Castle Pines Parkway and Monarch Boulevard are over 30 years old and need to be fully reconstructed to create the safest transportation system possible. Preventing unnecessary accidents or damage to vehicles is a priority for City Council and Question 2A allows the voters of Castle Pines to decide if they agree.
16: What has the City of Castle Pines done to prioritize our roads?
City Council unanimously prioritized roads and transportation projects in 2020 and has allocated almost half of the City’s total budget to these needs. But there is more to be done than existing resources will allow. For instance, Castle Pines Parkway and Monarch Boulevard, which are over 30 years old, will cost approximately $30 million to reconstruct. These projects cannot be completed within existing budgets. Through a detailed survey process, a majority of participating residents told City Council that they would like the City to place a transportation funding question on the ballot in 2020. City Council heard its residents and unanimously supported placing the question on the ballot to give voters the opportunity to decide whether safe roads and investing in transportation should be a priority.
17: Our property taxes are nothing to sneeze at and I feel like I already pay enough. Where do the majority of my property taxes go to today?
Property taxes go to a variety of entities and services with the City and the County. In Castle Pines, our residents have an existing mill levy of 101.34, but the City of Castle Pines only receives 4.5 of that total and 100% of that goes to law enforcement. One of the largest amounts goes to the school district which receives 35.785. Should question 2A pass, this will increase the City’s total mill levy to 11-13 mills. For a breakdown of where property taxes are allocated, please go to https://www.castlepinesco.gov/taxation-in-castle-pines/.
18: Why have I heard variances in the amount of what total property taxes will be?
The cost of transportation projects is shared by all taxpayers and financed through municipal bonds. The property taxes that residents pay will pay the debt on the bonds in static, annual payments. Thus, if there is an increase in the City’s total assessed valuation, the mill levy needed each year to pay the annual bond payment will be lowered accordingly.
19: Are there any guarantees that the mill levy needed to pay for the bonds will be reduced if there is an increase in the residential assessment values?
Yes. State law requires that the mill levy be certified annually and Question 2A only allows monies to be spent on what is defined in the ballot question, nothing more.
20: Couldn’t we allocate 100% of Castle Pines budget to roads?
No. Even if we didn’t pay for things such as public safety through the Sheriff’s Department, the 4.5 mills that the City receives of the total mill levy would not cover the reconstruction costs of Castle Pines Parkway or Monarch Boulevard.
21: Why bond for 30 years?
Our financial advisors have advised that this is the best option based on the existing bond market. Additionally, if we bond for fewer years, property taxes would be higher than requested to make the higher annual repayment amount. 30 years is also close to the estimated useful life of the asset. It’s important to note that the costs associated with the debt are conservative and may not be as high as presented. Future City Councils may elect to pay off the debt early.
22: How will you fund the ongoing maintenance of the Castle Pines roads?
As more homes are built and more businesses move into the City, the amount of property taxes and sales tax will increase over time. It is expected that these revenues will cover the ongoing maintenance of the roads.
23: Why can’t Douglas County, developers or others pay for the City’s transportation needs?
The City owns the streets, so it is the City’s responsibility to reconstruct or maintain the roads. That said, the City is working closely with the CPMD to share in economies of scale and costs as it performs its pipeline replacement during the Castle Pines Parkway phase of the project. CPMD also works with the City on rights-of-way and sewer projects. With respect to the County, the current Board of Commissioners prioritized transportation projects where appropriate such as interchanges on I-25, and they have agreed to look at Castle Pines studies about pass-through traffic. For the developers operating in our community, they are paying for all of the roads they are putting in and make contributions to other infrastructure such as interchanges. With respect to new homes being built, their homeowners will pay the same mill levy rates as other Castle Pines residents. Finally, the City will pursue grants at the state and federal level for bike lanes or pedestrian upgrades as appropriate.
24: Does Douglas County contribute to the cost of Castle Pines’ roads?
The County shares a percentage of their road and bridge property taxes and road sales and use taxes that are collected from within the City. In addition, the City receives Highway User Tax Fund (HUTF) monies. Even with these funds, however, the City does not have enough current resources, including the City’s own sales and use taxes, to fund its roads.
25: Do developers have to pay for the new roads within their developments?
Yes. Developers pay for and construct the new roads in their developments and dedicate them to the City after the warranty period is over. Once they are dedicated to the City, the City is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the roads.