Recently there have been several inquiries regarding the properties at the far south end of our Fire Rescue Protection District. Many of you who live in that area have noted that your residential tax bill includes taxes being paid to both the City of Colorado Springs and to Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District (BFFRPD), among many other taxing entities. This letter is intended to provide you with the historical context, the actions taken by your Board of Directors on your behalf, and the ideal plan of action moving forward into the future.
The properties in question were historically unincorporated El Paso County and were within the BFFRPD boundaries prior to being annexed by the City at some point prior to 2006. This is like other areas where the City has annexed unincorporated lands and did not exclude those properties from Special Districts. BFFRPD has continued to serve these areas. The area is considered a “dual response area” or “dual jurisdiction area”.
There are two taxes paid to BFFRPD, a property tax and a general obligation bond; both were voter approved taxes. The General Obligation Bond will be paid off in 2021 and will no longer be an encumbrance after 2021. The property tax is a voter approved mill levy. Your Board of Directors was proactive and passed a Resolution in July 2018 requesting the City of Colorado Springs to “enter in to an agreement for an orderly exclusion of such properties from the boundaries of the District”. That resolution was presented to the City by legal counsel immediately thereafter.
At that time, City Council members and CSFD Fire Chief were informed of the District’s actions to exclude your properties and to eliminate dual taxation. Fire Chief Collas was confident that his agency would be able to provide full-service delivery to these areas. Council Member Pico and Council Member Geislinger immediately recognized the benefit to their constituents and agreed the process should continue forward in a timely manner on your behalf.
BFFRPD has not been contacted by the City or its legal counsel to finalize the exclusion process. It is our understanding that the City’s legal counsel, who has an extremely heavy workload, is diligently working on the exclusion process on your behalf as well. Ideally the City will finish the exclusion process within the first ninety days of 2021 and the District Court shall hold a hearing on the petition and order the territory described in the petition as excluded. This plan will alleviate the property owners of both the General Obligation Bond and the BFFRPD Property tax simultaneously.