Aurora won’t intervene in double tax for some southeast residents

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AURORA | Some residents in southeast Aurora will continue to be double taxed for library services by the City of Aurora and the Arapahoe Library District without city lawmakers intervening, Aurora City Council members decided at a council meeting Aug. 13.

At a study session meeting, council members agreed not to follow through with any effort to lobby for a state bill that would allow Aurora homeowners who are currently being doubled taxed to petition to exclude themselves from Arapahoe Library District’s tax assessments.

The Arapahoe Library District has a current mill of 4.982 mills, which has resulted in the District collecting about $912,000 in 2011 from the areas of the District that also overlap some southeast parts Aurora, according to city documents.

Councilman Bob LeGare said he isn’t going to support exploring potential solutions to the problem of people being double taxed.

“It feels punitive to me to go in and try to change this state law based on what’s happened,” LeGare said.

Councilman Bob Broom said he’s only received two inquires from people who are wondering why they are paying taxes for Aurora and the District for library services.

No council members showed support at the study session meeting for intervening in the matter.

It’s not uncommon for some residents in cities to be taxed by a library district and the city for library services.

Roberto Venegas, intergovernmental relations coordinator for Aurora, said about 2,380 people pay taxes to both Littleton and the Jefferson County Public Libraries.

About 42,480 people pay taxes to both Westminster and the Jefferson County Public Libraries.

Venegas said he didn’t know how many people in Aurora are paying two taxes for the same services, but he would find out if city council members were interested in pursuing the matter further, which they said they weren’t.

Also at the meeting, Aurora City Council members approved residential design standards that would decrease the amount of brick required to build a home. They approved it on a vote of 7 to 2 with council members Molly Markert and Renie Peterson voting no.

The new ordinance decreases the amount of brick required to build a home from 30 percent to 15 percent. In return, home builders would have to meet energy efficiency, architectural and durability requirements. In order to make sure that home builders are following those rules, the city would institute a point system where home builders would have to meet a minimum number of construction points before they can construct a house.

When the issue came before council members at a study session meeting, it generated some controversy. The ordinance was initially spurred by requests by the Home Builder’s Association, which said studies show buyers prefer nicer appliances, more energy-efficient homes and landscaped backyards over masonry facades. But members of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission were opposed to the brick changes, saying they were worried that the 15 percent masonry standard would “reduce residential quality.” The Colorado Brick Council was also opposed to the ordinance.

Reach reporter Sara Castellanos at 720-449-9036 or [email protected]