Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Kim Glasscock
Editorial@lhvc.com 

BOCO Firm appeals again

 


Boulder County residents donated more than $10,000 in less than 36 hours to take their legal fight to the Colorado Supreme Court in a bid to force Boulder County Commissioners to rehabilitate and repave county subdivision roads without new taxes.

Boulder County Fairness in Road Maintenance (BoCo FIRM) announced July 19 that they intended to appeal a June 30 ruling by the Colorado Court of Appeals, which said homeowners do not have legal standing to bring their claims against Boulder County. Along with that announcement, BoCo FIRM asked for donations to continue the legal fight.

On July 21, BoCo FIRM announced that they had received more than the needed $10,000, enabling the legal challenge to move ahead.

“Frankly, we were very surprised at how quickly we were able to raise the necessary funds,” BoCo FIRM co-chair Chuck Wibby said July 24. “But I think being able to raise that amount of donations in that short time frame speaks to the passion and commitment of county residents on this issue.”

“Residents are telling the Boulder County Commissioners that the tack they have taken for so many years is just not acceptable. We want them to fix our roads now and to do it using existing county revenues,” Wibby added.

County commissioners maintain that any rehabilitation of roads in unincorporated subdivisions must be funded with new tax revenues.

In 2013, county commissioners formed a local improvement district to tax county subdivision property owners to pay the costs of fixing county subdivision roads. However, that LID was challenged in Boulder County District Court and ruled invalid in 2014. BoCo FIRM then filed a new lawsuit asking the courts to require Boulder County to rehabilitate county subdivision roads. In April 2015, the Boulder County District Court ruled that the homeowners suing the county do not have the necessary legal standing to sue. The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld that ruling June 30.

BoCoFIRM’s appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court must be filed by Aug. 11, and that court has discretion on whether it will accept the case for review and ruling.

“We think we have a strong case to bring to the state Supreme Court,” Wibby said. “We believe the current Court of Appeals ruling gives unprecedented authority to county commissioners to do what they want with taxpayer money, despite the wishes of county residents. And then the taxpayers can’t turn to the courts for relief.”

Political Arm

BoCo FIRM is also taking its fight against the commissioners’ stance into the political arena. The group has formed an advocacy committee (BoCo FAC) to endorse county commissioner candidates in the 2016 county commissioner races.

At a rally Monday in Gunbarrel, the advocacy committee announced support for Republican Paul Danish, a Longmont Republican running in District 2 against incumbent Democrat Deb Gardner of Longmont; and also voiced support for Kevin Sipple of Eldorado Springs, a Republican running against incumbent Democrat Elise Jones of Boulder in District 1.

Both candidates have said they support using current county revenues to fix county subdivision roads.

Commissioners are elected by all Boulder County voters but must reside in defined geographic districts while on the board.

 

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