It has come to our attention that the mill levy to support the Golden Gate Fire Protection District has been improperly certified for the past four years. The District Board of Directors has taken swift action to investigate how this happened and approved the required budget adjustment for this year.
The approved general mill levy for our fire district as set by the voters, in accordance with the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, or TABOR, is 9.000.
Unfortunately, the accountant who has been working with the District for the past four years, improperly, and for reasons unknown, departed from the Colorado-approved guidance and certified the rates at 10.774 for 2014 and 12.665 for 2015.
A mill certification is a typical administrative task done after the budget is adopted, simply certifying the mill at the rate approved by the voters, and filed directly with Jefferson County to determine your property taxes.
Fortunately, the approved budgets for the past two years did not rely on the additional amounts to fund core operations. The District has taken steps to put the excess revenue into reserves. While the District will not receive all of the 2016 property tax revenue until this fall, the Jefferson County Treasurer will not allow the District to correct the mill levy to be collected this year, which will stand at 12.665 mill.
At the March 2016 meeting of the Board of Directors, the Board voted 4-0 to certify a mill levy tax credit for property taxes next year. This means the mill will be reduced to a level to even out the over-collection from the past four years. The District will use revenues collected this year, and held in reserve, to fund next year’s operations.
The District will be hiring an accountant with experience working with special districts and knowledge of our obligations under TABOR.
We regret this occurred and take stewardship of your tax dollars seriously. We appreciate your understanding and patience as we take steps to ensure our District has the appropriate level of professional services and additional oversight moving forward.