The amount of local government power that goes unchecked is pretty stunning at times.
Homeowners in Denver, Colorado are getting hit with massive property tax increases from a little known government entity that reeks of pure fraud.
Here’s more from the Denver Post:
Then their first property tax bill arrived. Already on a tight budget, they stared at a bill that had gone from $818 at their closing in 2014 to nearly $3,500 barely a year later, then $4,400 two years after that.
“We were suddenly buried in property taxes we couldn’t afford,” Tlene Sterkel said. “The mortgage on the house we could afford just fine. But the taxes murdered us. We never saw it coming.”
Nearly half the Sterkels’ tax bill — and the reason it had shot up so quickly — went to Thompson Crossing Metropolitan District No. 4, the quasi-government metro district that controls the area where they purchased. The district’s tax levy was the only one to increase each year they were in their home.
Metro districts are taxing authorities created by subdivision developers, with the consent of the local government, for the sole purpose of selling government-like bonds to finance their projects. Repayment of the bonds is tied to future property taxes assessed to the homes that will eventually be built.
Instead, Colorado law permits developers to elect themselves to serve on a district’s board of directors, then use that position to approve tens of millions of dollars in public financing for their businesses, and leverage the property taxes on homes they haven’t yet built. No regulations stop these developer-controlled boards from approving arrangements that are financially advantageous to their business, allowing them to finance overly ambitious plans without fear of liability, knowing future homeowners ultimately shoulder the burden.