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Commentary and Analysis Regarding Colorado Law

Watch Out for Falling Tree Branches

Submitted by Blair Dickhoner.

We are all familiar with the age-old philosophical question – “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

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1377 Hits

Is it Time to Review your District’s Insurance Policies?

Submitted by Blair M. Dickhoner

Many special districts take a “set it and forget it” approach to their insurance policies. In an environment where the legal landscape, exposure to risk and policies are changing regularly, this approach can create a great deal of exposure for special districts.

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1002 Hits

A Tale of Two Towns…and their Fire Protection Districts

Submitted by Blair M. Dickhoner

Authorities can be formed in accordance with Section 18, Article XIV of the Colorado Constitution and Sections 29-1-201, et seq. CRS. These cooperative entities provide a variety of functions and are one way to pool resources and maximize governmental services. Many types of special districts and local governments across the state have entered into partnerships to form a broad range of authorities, including water authorities, wastewater authorities, power authorities, 911 authorities, transportation authorities and many others.

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875 Hits

Colorado Open Records Act

Submitted by Blair M. Dickhoner

On May 2, 2014, Governor Hickenlooper signed HB 14-1193 into law.  This legislation was passed in response to recent court decisions holding that “reasonable” fees could be charged for research and retrieval time spent in response to an open records request.  While the courts stated that such fees are permissible, they did not define the amount of a “reasonable” fee.  This new law, which becomes effective July 1, 2014, requires that if a special district is going to charge a fee for research and retrieval time it must have an open records policy in place that has been posted to the records custodian’s website or otherwise published prior to receiving the request.  This policy must contain the procedures for requesting and obtaining open records and it must specify the amount of the research and retrieval fee which the legislature determined should not be greater than $30.00 per hour.  Additionally, special districts may not charge at all for the first hour devoted to research and retrieval of records.

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883 Hits

Special District Election Bill Signed by the Governor

Submitted by Blair M. Dickhoner

On February 18th, Governor Hickenlooper signed into law the much anticipated Local Government Election Code, legislatively known as HB-1164.  HB-1164 was crafted to resolve several inconsistencies between special district election requirements and the new election provisions created by the passage of HB-1303 last year.  HB-1164, codified at Section 1-13.5-101 et seq., C.R.S., applies to any district, business improvement district, Title 32 special district, authority or political subdivision of Colorado that is authorized by law to conduct an election.  It does not, however, apply to counties, school districts, RTD or municipalities.

Special districts that are unable to cancel their election will be permitted to follow one of the following election options: (1) hold a coordinated election with the county (primarily for November elections); (2) conduct a polling place election; or (3) carry out an independent mail ballot election.  In circumstances where a special district opts to proceed with a non-coordinated polling place or independent mail ballot election, the new Local Government Election Code will govern the operation of that election.

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515 Kimbark Street, Second Floor
Longmont, CO 80502
Phone: 303-776-9900 
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363 Centennial Parkway, Suite 110
Louisville, CO 80027
Phone: 720-726-3670 
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Fort Collins, CO 80525
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