Incorporation Vote Prompts New Questions from Residents
The election to determine the first leaders of the new city of Castle Pines North (CPN) is just around the corner. CPN officially becomes a city at the first meeting of the newly elected city council. Since the November election, manyquestions have evolved. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about Douglas County’s newest municipality:
What is the status of getting a library in CPN? Is this a closed matter, or is there some chance we’ll still be able to have a library?
The ballot measure concerning necessary funding for the library was very narrowly defeated, so the planned avenue for developing a library in CPN is not available at this time. Community leaders are working with Douglas County Library Director Jamie Larue to explore other options for funding. Additionally, the proposal for additional funding may appear on the ballot again in November, 2008. It is safe to say that no matter what happens, it is unlikely that CPN will have a library as soon as we would have if the ballot measure had passed in November, 2007.
What is our new mailing address?
For the time being, continue to use “Castle Rock” in your mailing address. Following the February election, when the first city council is sworn in, CPN will officially become a city. Until then, continue to use the Castle Rock mailing address.
Will our zip code change?
According to the U.S. Postal Service, the zip code for the City of CPN will remain unchanged.
Can we drop “North” from our city name? Castle Pines (without the North) sounds much better.
The designation of “North” was kept in CPN’s petition to incorporate in order to avoid a costly legal battle with Castle Pines Village, who has laid claim to the name “Castle Pines.” If the Village’s attempt to incorporate is not successful, it is possible that CPN could vote to change its name at some future date. For now, the official name of our city is “Castle Pines North.”
How will the city council be structured? How many city council representatives will there be?
The new city will consist of a mayor, a treasurer, a clerk and six council members – two from each of the three “wards” in CPN.
What neighborhoods are in each ward and how were the wards determined?
At the advice of legal counsel, the CPN Election Commission was required to divide CPN into wards following certain boundary guidelines and requirements. The Election Commission worked to ensure that neighborhoods remained intact and that the population of each ward was divided equally.
Where will the city offices or town hall be located?
This decision will be made by the new city council.It is possible that city offices will be housed in existing office space within CPN that is available for lease. A municipal court will likely be held once per week (mostly for traffic violations and other minor matters) in a rented space like a school gymnasium.
What is the status of the Lagae Ranch development? When will it begin?
Plans for Lagae Ranch continue to move forward. This is a complex process, but once the new city council takes office it is likely that the project will move forward at a faster pace than if CPN had not chosen to incorporate. Lagae Ranch will bring approximately $22 million to the CPN Metro District in tap fee revenue. As of press time, the Metro District and the developer were set to sign an inclusion agreement for the parcel.
When do we begin being self-sufficient? Who will provide services to our new city?
CPN will run as an autonomous city for one year after we are officially formed. The city is officially formed sometime in February 2008, when the city council is sworn in and holds their first public meeting. Therefore, it is likely that CPN will be self-sufficient in February, 2009. The city council will determine who our service providers will be to meet the specific needs of the new city.
What will happen to our taxes now? Is it anticipated taxes will go up?
Taxes for the new city were set by the voters in the November, 2007, election. Property taxes will remain unchanged. Under specific TABOR laws in Colorado, voters have a choice when it comes to raising taxes.
When will the city council election be held?
February 12 is the official day of the election. However, ballots will be distributed and collected by mail. As of press time, ballots were expected to be mailed by January 25. Voters may cast their ballot as soon as they receive it in the mail; all ballots must be returned (not postmarked) by February 12, at 7 p.m. in order to be counted. Two ballot drop off locations will also be available. See page 5 for a complete list.
What are the issues that will be decided by the city council?
Nearly too many to count! City services contracts, government structure and so many other details will need to be decided in the first few months. City council members will need to be dedicated, focused on doing what is best for residents of CPN and ready to work hard.
Will CPN have a city manager?
The economic feasibility study developed by CH2M Hill envisioned a city manager and small staff for CPN. The city council, however, will make the ultimate decision as to how CPN will be structured.
Will the city government take over services now provided by many of the HOAs? Which services would the city take over, and will this eliminate the need for so many HOAs and/or reduce the annual fees?
Once the basic structure of the city is decided by the city council, the task of consolidating HOA services could be reviewed. It is important to remember that all parties (the HOAs and the city leadership) must be willing to work together. HOAs will maintain their autonomy. It is unlikely that changes to HOA structure will take place in the first year, if at all. Again, the ultimate goal of consolidating services means that all parties need to be willing to sit down together and come up with solutions that benefit all CPN residents. Consolidation of services usually means a cost savings.
What are the top infrastructure priorities necessary to functionally run the city government including administrative buildings, courthouse and jail, street cleaning and maintenance as well as community services such as rec center and library? Which ones do we need, which will be outsourced from the county and where will they be housed or built?
CPN will have administrative offices in an existing space somewhere in CPN. A municipal court will be held in a rented space (probably once per week to handle traffic violations and other minor infractions.) Jail facilities will continue to be provided to CPN by Douglas County. Street cleaning and maintenance decisions will be made by the city council. Residents could present a rec center and a library to the newly elected council for review and discussion.
On an ongoing basis, who will now be responsible for the parks, trails and swimming pools?
Parks, trails and open space maintenance is currently provided by the CPN Metro District. Open space areas, parks, swimming pools and other amenities that are owned by HOAs will continue to be owned and maintained by HOAs. At some future point in time, it is possible that the city could assume responsibility for Metro District land and park facilities, but that is an issue that will be decided at a later date by the city council.
If the Village doesn’t incorporate, what happens to their share of the sales tax revenue? The revenue sharing agreement gives them five years to incorporate – does their share of revenue go to an escrow account in the meantime?
No. The Village does not receive any of the shared sales-tax revenue until such time as they incorporate. Until they incorporate, CPN will receive 100 percent of all tax monies collected. If the Village fails to incorporate by June, 2012, CPN will receive 100 percent of these revenues in perpetuity. If the Village does vote to incorporate before 2012, CPN will receive 80 pecent of the money for the first five years and 75 percent thereafter. This decision was part of the revenue sharing and settlement agreement signed by representatives of both communities in June, 2007.
Will the city council election be a mail-in ballot, or will there be polling places?
Douglas County is coordinating the election for CPN, which represents a significant cost savings to the taxpayers. To save additional fees, no polling places will be provided on February 12. The election will be mail ballot only. Two ballot drop off locations have been determined.
Send incorporation questions to: Contact by email.