New developments have to join tax district

Virtually all new developments in Clifton and Fruitvale will have to join a taxing district to pay for county services under a resolution the Mesa County Commission approved Monday.

Commissioners voted 2–1 — Commissioner Steve Acquafresca dissented — to adopt a policy that spells out the types of development that must petition for inclusion into the Bookcliff Urban Services Public Improvement District. Under the policy, anyone who submits 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.

Exemptions include rezonings, accessory dwellings and vacations of rights of way and utility easements.

County officials say the district offers a mechanism to provide urban levels of service and ensures that county resources are distributed in a fair and equitable manner for all county taxpayers.

The district was created last year by the vote of one property owner, Steve Alpert, who owns a 2 1/2-acre lot at the northeast corner of 32 1/2 and E roads. Properties would be added to the district as they develop. Existing homes and businesses aren’t affected by the district.

County leaders say the district is necessary to help offset what they say is a disproportionate amount of tax money spent on services in the area compared to its population.

The district’s tax rate is 2 mills. The rate would increase to 14 mills once 100 homes exist within the district, and it could be bumped up to 22 mills once 200 homes appear.

In other business, commissioners signed off on a $578,277 contract with Sierra Detention Systems of Brighton to install a new security control system in the county jail.

Sierra’s bid was $50,000 higher than the next-highest bid received by the county, but commissioners stuck with it, saying other bidders’ proposals either were incomplete or would have required additional jail staffing during installation.


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