Commissioners gut Clifton taxing district

Mesa County commissioners on Monday effectively gutted a taxing district for new development in Clifton and Fruitvale, limiting the developments that must be included in the district, and delaying potential property tax rate increases.

The board unanimously agreed to reduce the developments that must petition for inclusion in the Bookcliff Urban Services Public Improvement District and keep the district’s mill levy at 2 mills.

The applications that require inclusion in the district are site plans for development in business, commercial or industrial zone districts; conditional-use permits for property in business, commercial or industrial zone districts; and concept or final plans for a planned-unit development in non-residential zone districts; concept or final plans and final plats for subdivisions.

Subdivisions which have applications pending but haven’t been approved aren’t required to annex.

Previously, a broader array of developments were required to be included in the district.

Commissioners also decided to suspend any potential hike in the district’s mill levy from 2 mills and instead plan to place a question on the November ballot asking property owners in the district about whether the mill levy should rise.

Previously, the rate was scheduled to jump to 14 mills once 100 homes existed within the district, and it could have bumped up to 22 mills once 250 homes appeared.

The district was created a year and a half ago to generate funding to pay for services in an area commissioners Janet Rowland and Craig Meis said demanded more than its fair share of the county’s resources.

The changes were brought about by concerns raised by developers and real-estate agents that the district created an unfair situation in which homeowners within the same subdivision pay different tax rates.

Some also complained that it could make it more difficult to build and sell lots.

Duncan McArthur, governmental affairs director with the Grand Junction Area Realtors Association, thanked commissioners and county planners for listening to community feedback and said the changes were helpful.

But he asked that commissioners go a step further and repeal the district altogether, saying builders and Realtors looking to build and sell lots will have trouble competing with properties outside the district.

Those submitting applications for subdivisions, site plans, concept plans, planned-unit developments and conditional-use permits will have to seek inclusion in the district and be subject to an additional property tax.

“Things may not be perfect, but at least we’re moving forward and trying to solve some issues here,” said John Huff, broker associate with Coldwell Banker.

Rowland said the modifications to the district “gets us a step further down the road of making it more equitable.”


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