Litigation Update From Brian Wahlert, 10/29/2014

BoCo FIRM (Boulder County Fairness in Road Maintenance) won its lawsuit against the county, successfully overturning the Local Improvement District and forcing all LID funds to be refunded to property owners, with interest. In his ruling issued on July 27, Judge J. Robert Lowenbach stated, "The Boulder County Board of County Commissioners exceeded its jurisdiction and abused its discretion in authorizing and forming the Subdivision Paving Local Improvement District."

Although Judge Lowenbach was only asked to rule on the issue of whether the county had the authority to impose the LID, he also made it clear that the county has the legal obligation to keep our roads in good repair. He wrote,

It is clear that the County faced difficult financial issues that caused the neglect of its dedicated subdivision roads. Roads that are not chip sealed and resurfaced will deteriorate. If deterioration is severe enough, the road will have to be reconstructed. These maintenance activities are necessary to the upkeep of the roads and to keep them operative, and are included in the term "maintenance." Property owners whose roads were accepted for maintenance understood that term to include all activities necessary for upkeep of roads. While it clearly had the duty to maintain those roads, the County did not perform that duty.

But the county's neglect and dereliction of duty continue. As a result, BoCo FIRM has filed a second lawsuit. From their website:

In response to the continued malfeasance of the Boulder County Board of Commissioners, BoCo FIRM's attorney Madeline Meacham of Halpern Meacham has filed a new lawsuit asking the court to order the County to fix our roads. The suit includes 312 plaintiffs.

To download and read a copy of the suit click on the following link: Second lawsuit filed by BoCo FIRM.

The suit asks the Court to declare that the Boulder County Board of Commissioners breached their contractual obligation and violated state law by failing to maintain the roads using currently available public funds.

The goal of the suit is simple. Fix our roads without new taxes. As the current Commissioners have consistently ignored the will of their constituents, the specific requirements of state law and the direction of the Court, we have asked the Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus ordering the Commissioners to maintain the roads using public funds.

Although we continue to provide the County with concrete plans on fixing our roads without new taxes, we will also continue the legal battle. To support our efforts, click on the following button to donate to BoCo FIRM.

The commissioners have been unable or unwilling to accept or adapt the BoCo Firm proposal into a workable solution. As a result, it appears more and more likely that this issue will have to be settled in court, as repair costs increase and public safety deteriorates.

SPLIDAC Update From Peter King-Smith, 10/28/2014

Peter's update from the October 28 HOA meeting:

Bob Loveman and I attended a meeting between the now inactive Subdivision Paving LID Advisory Committee (SPLIDAC) and the County Commissioners on October 7th to discuss status and future plans for subdivision paving.

We reviewed a proposal from BoCo FIRM, submitted following their lawsuit that invalidated the Subdivision Paving LID. The Commissioners considered their proposal primarily for a tenfold increase in the mill levy for the Road and Bridge Fund to be taken from the General Fund and for County Road Maintenance to significantly expand their chip seal capabilities.

After a few days of deliberation the Commissioners concluded that the proposal was not feasible for several reasons and that claims made by BoCo FIRM were false. Primary conclusions were:

  1. Reallocation if even possible was unfair in that it asked all county and city residents to pay for subdivision road repaving and as a result accept significant reductions in funding for many of their services including but not limited to law enforcement and emergency services
  2. BoCo Road Maintenance cannot keep necessary staff or justify additional equipment costs for activities that can only be performed about half of the year.
  3. The General Fund is used for emergencies including fire and flood and is not only depleted now but has major obligations for flood repair for the next 5 years and for reserves for fires etc.

It seems that BoCo FIRM has successfully stopped the LID and therefore any work to repave subdivision roads but not provided a workable alternative. Costs are escalating at $3-5 million annually so this standoff could cost all subdivision residents significantly more to repave our roads and result in ever increasing safety issues in the meantime.

It could be a classic case of win the battle and lose the war. Careful what you wish for!!

All involved recognize that the situation we find ourselves in is regrettable and distasteful. The LID was an unpopular option to solve a no win dilemma. As unpopular as it was it was working and now we have no solution in sight. The only alternative now may be for a voter approved PID which could not happen for minimum of another year and may not be approved if offered.

The next update will come as a result of the finalization of the county budget in December but any meaningful solution from these deliberations seems unlikely. So, the saga will continue with no foreseeable answer and ever increasing cost and danger to public safety...