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Administration

Posted on: January 31, 2019

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Incorporation Study

What is the Metro District currently doing regarding the subject of incorporation and why?
The District solicited proposals from consulting firms having experience or qualifications in governance planning, research, incorporation, fiscal sustainability, public input, and community education to prepare an independent and impartial Comprehensive Fiscal and Sustainability Analysis (CFSA) in the event of incorporation of Pueblo West.

The Board of Directors believes that it is prudent to have a comprehensive understanding of options to best serve the residents and visitors of the community. The District is not initiating a process to incorporate as a City, but rather just studying the economic and financial sustainability of incorporation, should the community decide to move forward with incorporation. The District believes it is important for the District and the community to know the economic and financial considerations of incorporation, before moving forward with the process of incorporation. Additionally, with only 150 signatures required to place incorporation on the ballot, the Board of Directors wants to ensure voters have the most information possible to make an informed decision should an incorporation measure be placed on the ballot in the future.

What will the CFSA identify?
The CFSA will determine whether incorporation is economically feasible, the estimated costs associated with providing services under an incorporated model, and the estimated revenues. Additionally, the study will provide the Board of Directors with information on sustainability in the current model should Pueblo West remain a special district.

 What does incorporation mean?
Incorporation is when residents within a designated area of the land choose to form a city form of government. In Colorado, residents of unincorporated areas may form a municipal corporation under the authority of state statutes. Municipalities formed under these laws, called statutory towns or cities have limited powers specifically granted to them via state law. Incorporation can also create a home rule city. Under Article XX of the Colorado State Constitution, a home rule city has the power to make legislation relevant to their community exercising control over issues of “local concern” while minimizing state intervention in municipal affairs.

What is the process that must take place for a community to incorporate?
First, a petition for incorporation must be filed with the district court of the county in which the municipality is to be located.  

  • The petition must be signed by at least 150 registered electors who are landowners and residents of the area to be incorporated (only 40 signatures are required in a county with a population of less than 25,000).
  • The court reviews the petition to determine whether the proposed municipality satisfies statutory requirements.
  • The Court will order an incorporation election after it determines that the proposed area for incorporation satisfies statutory requirements. Incorporation only occurs if a majority of the registered electors vote to approve the incorporation.

What is the Pueblo West community’s current form of government?
Pueblo West is a multi-function special district (metropolitan district) quasi-municipal corporation or political subdivision of the State of Colorado formed under Title 32 of the Colorado Revised Statutes to provide necessary public services that the county cannot otherwise provide. Pueblo West provides five main services or functions: community development/committee of architecture, fire protection and emergency medical services, parks and recreation, public works including road maintenance, and water and wastewater utilities.

Should the CFSA indicate that a new city would be financially feasible and advantageous to the citizens, what would be the process that would be followed to achieve incorporation and the estimated time when an incorporation referendum might be held? 
The Board of Director’s intent is that the pursuit of incorporation would not be a Metropolitan District led initiative at this time, therefore, there is no timeframe for an incorporation referendum. The CFSA is an exploratory document with the intent to provide comprehensive information on the feasibility of incorporation. 

What is the history of the concept of Pueblo West incorporating into a city?
Incorporation is not a new subject regarding the Pueblo West community. The topic was discussed as early as January 16, 1979, during a District board meeting and incorporation articles appeared in the Pueblo Chieftain throughout the year while the community was celebrating its first decade. However, constraints persisted and are highlighted in a memorandum dated October 30, 1985, from Legal Counsel that outlined the community could not incorporate as a city at the time due to density requirements set forth in state statute, which could not be met within the District’s 49 square mile boundary. Through 1994, the population grew and approximately 6,000 people resided in Pueblo West. Significant growth occurred in the late 1990s to mid-2000s, and as of 2018, the population is estimated to be around 33,000 residents.

On April 23, 1999, a Community Planning Committee presented a 32-page Community Plan to the Board in an attempt to plan for the future. “Consider how things might be when we are four times bigger with four times the traffic,” wrote Past Board member John Van Auken, “People will then be looking for more local retail, service, jobs, etc., with fewer trips to Pueblo”. The District was only 28% developed and it was realized by Van Auken that “every day that goes by is a missed opportunity to influence the future” due to the growth rate at the time. In 2007 the District solicited applications for residents and business owners to serve on a Citizens Advisory Committee to study the feasibility of incorporation of the Pueblo West community, but an official study was not completed nor conducted.

Today Pueblo West Metro continues to face challenges as a special district, some old but some new ones, too. Specifically, accommodating a growing population of 33,000 residents and corresponding Pueblo West High School (Pueblo County School District 70’s largest high school), unforeseen marijuana industry impacts, a decreasing Residential Assessment Rate, TABOR restraints, expansion of services without an increased mill levy, and several more. To address these concerns, an Incorporation Committee was formed, consisting of the District Manager, General Counsel, District staff, and two Board members, with the intent to draft the scope for an official study which was ultimately presented to the Board of Directors and approved.

What is Pueblo West’s annual budget comprised of?
Pueblo West’s 2019 general fund budgeted revenues are $9.4 million and budgeted expenses are $9 million. 51.7% of revenues are generated by property taxes, 41.5% of revenues come from a combination of miscellaneous pass-through tax revenue from the state and county, and the remaining 6.8% of revenue comes from seven smaller revenue streams.


For more information, please contact:

Jay-Michael Baker
Community Engagement Manager, Pueblo West Metropolitan District
109 E. Industrial Blvd
PO Box 7005
Pueblo West, CO 81007
(719) 547-0168
jbaker@pwmd-co.us

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