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Metro District FAQs

How are Metro Districts different from Homeowners' Associations?

A Homeowners’ Association (HOA) is not a type of special district or governmental entity and does not have taxing powers. An HOA is a private entity created to enforce restrictive covenants and for the maintenance of HOA owned common areas.

How is a special district governed?

A Metro District is governed by a Board of Directors, who are elected by the registered electors within the district. Eligible electors who reside within the district or who own taxable property within the district are eligible to serve on the Board of Directors. The District’s board of directors shall hold at least one public board meeting in three of the four quarters of each calendar year, beginning in the first full calendar year after the District’s creation.

Who approves Metro Districts?

The approval of a District Service Plan is at the sole discretion of City Council, which may reject, approve, or conditionally approve Service Plans on a case-by-case basis. City Council retains full authority regarding the approval, terms, conditions and limitations of all Service Plans.

How is a Metro District formed?

The application process is designed to provide early feedback to an applicant, adequate time for a comprehensive staff review, and the appropriate steps and meeting opportunities with decision makers. The application process involves submittal of a letter of interest to the City, formal application and Service Plan submittal, formal staff review, Council Finance Committee meeting, and a Council Public Hearing.

How is a Metro District Funded?

Metro Districts issue bonds or special assessments to finance their facilities, which are secured by the taxing authority of the Metro District. A mill levy is added to the annual property tax bill and the resources from that levy are used solely for the benefit of property owners and the neighborhood. Fees may also be imposed for facilities and services. In Fort Collins, the City’s policy caps the mill levy at fifty (50) unless a higher amount is approved by City Council.

How does the City ensure transparency of metro districts?

Metro Districts follow the same “sunshine” laws as any other governmental entity in Colorado, as well as additional requirements in the Metro District statutes. Specifically, a Metro District must notice all meetings by posting the time and place of the meeting at three locations within the district and publish notice in a widely distributed publication. In addition, all State required annual financial reports are published on the Department of Local Affairs website and viewable by the public. In addition to these steps required by the State, the City has included the following items in the Metro District Policy and Model Service Plan:

  • Consent for the City to publish on its own website the annual report and fiscal statements submitted by a Metro District on the City’s own website.
  • All districts will host a minimum of three meetings annually. The intent is to host these meetings generally on a quarterly basis with the ability to elect to take one quarter off based on vacation and holiday schedules. A district may meet more frequently as it may choose.
What type of projects are the funds used for?

The following list of examples is meant to be illustrative of the types of projects that deliver the defined public benefits in this City of Fort Collins’ policy.  

Category/Sub-Category Example Projects
Environmental Sustainability Outcomes
1. Green House Gas Reductions
  • See subsequent sub-categories
2. Water and/or Energy Conservation
  • District-wide non-potable water systems(s)
  • District-wide renewable energy systems(s)
  • Delivery of 20% or more rooftop solar
  • Greywater reuse system(s) - if allowed by law
3. Multimodal Transportation
  • Buffered bike lanes
  • Wider than required sidewalks
  • Enhanced pedestrian crossings
  • Underpass(es)
4. Enhance Community Resiliency
  • Significant stormwater improvements (previously identified)
  • Improvements to existing bridges
5. Increase Renewable Energy Capacity
  • District-wide renewable energy system(s)
  • Set aside land for community solar garden(s)
  • Utility scale renewable project(s)
Critical Public Infrastructure
1. Within District Area
  • Community Park Land (beyond code requirements)
  • Regional Stormwater Facilities
  • Major arterial development
  • Parking Structures (Publicly Accessible)
2. Adjacent to Proposed District
  • Contribution to major interchange/intersection
  • Contribution to grade separated railroad crossings
High Quality and Smart Growth Management
1. Increase density
  • Alley load construction
  • Smaller Lot Size
  • Increased multifamily development
2. Walkability & Pedestrian Friendliness
  • Wider than required sidewalks
  • Enhanced pedestrian crossings
  • Underpass(es)
  • Trail system enhancements
3. Increase availability of Transit
  • Improved bus stops
  • Restricted access guideways for bus operations
  • Transfer facilities
4. Public Spaces
  • Pocket Parks
  • Neighborhood Parks (beyond code requirements)
Strategic Priorities
1. Affordable Housing
  • Units permanently affordable to 805 Area Median Income
  • Land dedicated to City's land bank program
2. Infill/Redevelopment
  • Address environmental contamination/concern
  • Consolidate wetlands or natural area (positive benefits)
3. Economic Health Outcomes
  • Facilitate job groth (at or above County median income)
  • Retain an existing business