Improvement Districts

Improvement Districts

Definition

Improvement districts can be created to finance infrastructure improvements for the benefit of properties within the district, such as:

  • Road rehabilitation, and/or
  • ResurfacingThe Board of County Commissioners serves as the board of directors for the district.

Initiation

Anyone within a potential district can initiate discussions with the county to see what is involved in completing work on roads within the district. The roads can be either public or private.

  • Private roads would need to be brought up to county standard (at the expense of the property owners within the district) as part of the work to be done before the county would take on maintenance responsibility. There is no implied obligation on the county’s part to take on ownership and maintenance responsibility of private roads in the district.

Formation of a District

The Boulder County Commissioners want to see that those properties within the potential district will:

  • Benefit from the improvements, and
  • Improvements are supported by the owners of those properties.

Beginning in the spring, property owners would work with the Transportation Department to:

  • Identify the preliminary boundaries of the district.
  • Circulate a petition among the property owners.
  • Identify the final boundaries of the district with the Transportation Department once the petition is signed by a majority of property owners.

Once the district is finalized, the Board of County Commissioners would hold a public hearing to decide whether to proceed with the creation of the district and perhaps place the matter on the ballot.

Cost of the work

The Transportation Department would evaluate the work to be completed as part of discussions with the district representatives. At least one public meeting would be held with the district property owners to:

  • Explain the need,
  • Describe the project,
  • Provide an initial expected cost, and
  • Discuss potential funding necessary to implement the improvements.

At that point, a general consensus would be reached as to the direction and payment method to be used.

District Funding

Transportation Improvements can be funded by:

  • Assessments,
  • Taxes,
  • Bonds,
  • HOA Dues,
  • Voluntary payments, or
  • Other funding sources.

Local Improvement District (LID)

A LID can be used to finance one-time capital improvements. It does not finance future improvements or ongoing work. The method of funding is usually assessments (per lot or per front-footage), either to be paid until the needed amount is collected and then work is completed, or to pay off bonds sold to begin work immediately (see “Bonding Improvements” below). Once the payments are completed and the work is finished, the district dissolves and a new district must be formed if more work is to be performed.

Public Improvement District (PID)

A PID can be used to:

  • Finance one-time capital improvements, and future and on-going work.

The method of funding is usually a property-value-based (mill levy) tax that can be adjusted in the future based on actual need for funding. The tax and/or bonding issue is voted on by electors in the district at a regular election in the fall. Once the work is paid for, the district can be dissolved at the request of the district members in the future.

Bonding Improvements

Regardless of which type of District is used, the cost of the improvements can be paid for by issuing bonds sold to investors and can be paid from:

  • Revenues generated by assessments (LID), or
  • Taxes (PID)

Bonding is typically used to hold current prices and complete the work quickly before the road condition deteriorates beyond its usefulness; however, the total cost of the bonding package adds administrative costs and interest, potentially adding up to 40% to the cost of the work.

Because it is a form of indebtedness, the bonding must be approved by registered voters within the district at a regular election in the fall of each year.

Completion of the Work

Once the district is formed and money collected (either over time or more quickly if bonds are issued), the work will be designed and bid out for construction using the county’s procurement method to contract with a qualified, insured and capable contractor. Final cost information and payment is then used to account to the district members. Overruns to the cost of the work is borne by the county, and under runs would be refunded to the district members, or, in the case of a PID, the costs would be cumulative and evened out as part of an ongoing work plan for the district.

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