Longmont 303-776-9900
Louisville 720-726-3670

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Commentary and Analysis Regarding Colorado Law

Record Retention

Record Retention 2

School and special districts, along with other governmental entities, are governed by many federal and state laws, including Colorado’s state laws related to public records and their record retention periods.  Section 24-80-101, C.R.S. and following, provide the statutory framework for the legal requirements for school boards of education and special district boards of directors to follow in order to determine what public records must be preserved as permanent records, along with what public records may be destroyed and when such destruction may occur.  Without having an adopted records retention schedule approved by the Colorado State Archives, no record may be destroyed.  This article provides an overview of how to create and adopt a records retention schedule for your local government entity so that records may then legally be destroyed, as well as reviews the benefits of establishing the retention schedule.

What is a records retention schedule?  A records retention schedule lists all records maintained by the school or special district, along with how long each record must be maintained.  The schedule sets forth which records must be retained permanently and which others can be destroyed once they have exceeded the minimum retention period. The records retention schedule acts as the legal authorization by the State Archives and State Auditor to then destroy the non-permanent records.

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What is the Gallagher Amendment?

Amendments

In 1982, Colorado voters passed the Gallagher Amendment to the Colorado Constitution.  The Amendment got its name from Dennis Gallagher, the state legislator that proposed the action.  The primary concern of the Gallagher Amendment was to set a specific policy for determining actual value and assessed value of property in relation to the collection of property taxes within the State of Colorado. 

More specifically, the Gallagher Amendment set a fixed ratio for the amount of revenues collected through property tax and divided those revenues into two major categories: Non-residential and Residential.  Residential, as it suggests, is the property tax revenue generated from the ownership of homes.  Non-residential includes everything else, from commercial properties and farms, to oil and gas properties.  The Gallagher Amendment requires that Non-residential property tax revenues make up 55% of total property tax revenues, leaving Residential to account for the remaining 45%.  Significantly, the Gallagher Amendment also fixed the Non-residential Assessment Rate at 29% and requires the Residential Assessment Rate to fluctuate in order to maintain the 55%-45% ratio between the two sources of revenue.  The combination of the 55%-45% ratio and the floating Residential Assessment Rate has resulted in a consistent “ratcheting down” effect for the Residential Assessment Rate between 1982 and the present. 

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Election Spending and Local Government

Adele Reester

Many local governments have determined within the past few weeks to send a ballot issue or question to their voters in the November 2016 election.  This act of setting the ballot language for the issue or question triggers the application of the Colorado Fair Campaign Practices Act (“FCPA”) (§ 1-45-117, C.R.S.)  For the local governments, this means that they are expressly prohibited from expending public funds to support/oppose any candidate for public office and any ballot issue before the voters.  This include a prohibition on contributions of public funds and contributions of “in kind” public services.

However, the FCPA does permit the expenditure of public funds/resources and the use of public employees' time/resources only for the printing of a factual balanced and fair summary which includes arguments both for and against a proposal on any issue of official concern before an electorate.  The summary cannot urge a vote in a particular manner (“VOTE YES”).  It should be noted that unless the matter is referred to your voters by your board, it is not of “official concern” and therefore funds could not be used to prepare arguments for or against a statewide ballot issues.  Of further note is that this is in addition to the TABOR comments which are received from the public in support or opposition to a tax measure.

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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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Special District Election Bill Signed by the Governor

Submitted by Blair M. DickhonerOn 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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Serving The Entire State Of Colorado
Map and Directions

Longmont Office

515 Kimbark Street, Second Floor
Longmont, CO 80502
Phone: 303-776-9900 
Maps & Directions

Louisville Office

363 Centennial Parkway, Suite 110
Louisville, CO 80027
Phone: 720-726-3670 
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