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El Paso County commissioners capped how much in property taxes a metro district can charge residents of a new development south of Colorado Springs. 

El Paso County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to cap the property taxes a metro district can charge residents of a new subdivision west of the Security-Widefield area to pay off tens of millions in infrastructure costs. 

Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez praised the new plan for the Waterview II Metro District that will serve the Trails at Aspen Ridge development because it now follows the county's rules for special districts approved in 2017 that limit how much metro districts can charge. The district was set up in 2006, when no limits were in place. 

"I think it actually adds some protection," Gonzalez said. 

Eventually, about 1,900 people are expected to move into 861 houses in the new development southeast of the intersection of Powers Boulevard and Bradley Road, according to materials presented to the commissioners.

The 168-acre development is expected to cost $73 million to develop, including new water and sewer lines, road improvements, and three new community parks, the presentation said. Some of those improvements are already built or in the planning stages, and some new residents have already moved in, representatives of the Waterview II metro district said. 

The thousands of new residents of the development could be responsible for paying off up to $50 million of those infrastructure costs based on Tuesday's vote, if residents also approve the increased bond ceiling, said Kari Parsons, county planner. A 2006 metro district plan for the development set the bond limit at $35 million, she said.  

The commissioners' vote allows the district to charge up to 50 mills — a special district tax — to pay down debts and an additional 15 mills for other costs, including maintenance and operations and covenant enforcement. 

At the full 65 mills, the owner of a $425,000 home would pay about $1,975 a year to the metro district, said Kyle Thomas with D.A. Davidson, who did the financial analysis for the district. 

Residents of Trails at Aspen Ridge are currently owe 40 mills to the district out of the 125 mills they owe on their annual bills, a county staff presentation showed. 

Contact the writer at mary.shinn@gazette.com or (719) 429-9264.

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