Corporate-Controlled Metro Districts Operating in the Shadows

Corporate-Controlled Metro Districts

Operating in the Shadows

Photo taken on Sept. 21, 2019 of the location designated by the Buffalo Highlands Metro District for posting public notices and meeting agendas regarding district board meetings. All directors on this board reported conflicts of interest serving on this District's board. This is the southern edge of the District’s boundaries and the homes constructed by Lennar can be seen off in the distance. The road in the foreground is 88th Avenue and was shut down and barricaded by the City of Commerce City in 2018.

Corporate-controlled metro districts are well known for employing various tactics to reduce the visibility of metro districts to the taxpayers who fund these districts. The contractors that serve such districts also advise and assist corporate-controlled district boards with identifying and implementing tactics to minimize drawing attention from the taxpayers. After a district's borrowing capacity is maxed out and the district collects taxes under maximum mill levy limits, it becomes progressivly more difficult to operate unnoticed as homeowners continue to pay more each year in property taxes to these districts.

Tactics commonly employed by corporate-controlled metro districts include the following:


Consultants and contractors willingly support districts' tactics to reduce/minimize transparency

Interestingly, the accounting firms, law firms, magament companies and other consultants that serve these districts will publicly not support such tactis when confronted by homeowners. However, if homeowners review the minutes of past district board meetings, they would notice these contractors never objected to or advised against the board taking any of these actions to operate the district in violation of public meeting and disclosure laws. Homeowners will also note such contractors and consultants never advised such boards to adopt good governance practices that demonstrate a desire to be transparent with the taxpayers that fund the district.

Consultants, Contractors and Board Members unable to find suitable public facilities close to the district?

In many cases, metro district boards will pass resolutions indicating that no suitable facilits exist within 20 miles of a district's boundaries. While many of these metro districts may be locted on the fringes of city boundaries, such metro districts are never far from public facilities such as schools, fire department facilities, libraries, public recreation centers and othe rpublic facilities - all with suitable and available space to hold public meetings. For example, some corporate-controlled metro districts located in Thornton claim no suitable public meeting facilities exist between Thornton and Greenwood Village. Really? The City of Thornton and the entire Denver metro area has no suitable public meeting facilities?

Some corporate-controlled metro districts have abandoned the (unwinnable) "no-suitable-meeting-facilities-within 20 miles" argument and have instead taken the position that board meetings must be held in locations convenient to the board memebers (who do notlive in the distirct) and the district's consultants and contractors. No mention is made by the distirct board about convenience to the homeowners funding the metro district. When homeowners confront the accounting firms, law firms, management firms and other consultants about this issue, they will all publicly support holding meetings closer to the metro district boundaries and support convenience to taxpayers over convenience to themselves. However, nowhere is it documented in the board meeitng minutes that these contractors ever objected to the board taking these actions. In fact, in most cases the consultants advised the boards to take these actions.

Why Wolfersberger, LLC-managed metro districts are different

All metro districts managed by Wolfersberger, LLC hold board meetings within 2.5 miles of the metro districts' respective boundaries. If suitable public facilities do not exist within the boundaries of a metro district (sch as a recreation center or clubhouse), our metro district boards will conduct meetings at fire houses, recreation centers, libraries, schools or other nearby public facilities. Our metro district cleints' boards ensure meetings are held in locations convienent to the districts' residents. 

All Wolferbsrger, LLC metro districts maintain public websites and these metro districts regularly advertise the metro districts' websites to the respective residents of the districts. While our metro district clients usually do not maintain social media sites, they all support neighborhod social media sites maintained by the residents. 

In December f each year, all Wolfersberger, LLC metro districts publish an annual board meeting calendar on the homepage of the metro districts' websites. While boards occasionally must change meeting dates during the year, our metro district boards usually stick to the board meeting calendar published at the beginning of each year.

Wolfersberger, LLC managed metro districts are comprised of resident-controlled boards. In extremely rare cases, a resident board memeber may report a conflict of interest. Otherwise, all Wolfersberger, LLC metro district boards are comprised of independent directors who recognize their fiduciary responsibilities to serve the best interest of the residents.

Other ways Wolfersberger, LLC is serving Colorado residents

At Wolfersberger, LLC, we continue to advocate for improving the transparency of metro districts. One way we have had a positive impact on metro districts is through our lobbying efforts with city councils to revise metro district service plans and city ordinances requiring metro district boards to hold board meetings with the boundaries of the city in which metro districts are located. We also hold free informational meetings with communities to educate the residents regarding their metro districts. May of these information meetings have resulted in homeowners running for and successfully taking control of their metro district boards. For the few brave souls wanting to dive deeper into Colorado politics, we are proud to see the board memebers of some of our metro district clients now serving on city councils and mayors!