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Currently the Baca Grande Property Owners Association (BGPOA) Territory outside of the town of Crestone is just that, a Territory. Since it is not an official Colorado Town it does not have access to both Federal and State benefits, such as grants and other funding programs. A group of volunteers applied to Saguache County on August 8th 2022 to convert this territory into an official Colorado town with all the associated benefits. The potential town of Baca Grande, Colorado.
The first steps have been taken.
A Petition has been filed for Incorporation of the Town of Baca Grande.
August 8, 2022
Submission to the District Court
Judge reviews and determines if the requirements have been met.
Appoints 5 to 9 commissioners. (Registered electors)
See CRS 31-2-102. Incorporation election and the Colorado Municipal Election Code for additional information on conducting the election.
Annexation to the town of Crestone would first require the permission of the town and historically there has not been any real desire to combine the communities together as one town. Annexation is also a lengthy process that would only allow portions of the Baca Grande to join the town at one time.
This is about forming our own municipality, the town of Baca Grande. While still a legal process, it is quicker and better meets the needs of our community. To better explain the steps of becoming a municipality;
Under Colorado Title 31 a portion of an unincorporated county may petition the court asking permission to vote on the matter of becoming a town. This is the petition that was submitted to Saguache County District Court on August 8, 2022. Once permission is granted by the court, residents within the proposed town that are also registered electors will get to vote a simple yes or no on becoming our own town.
You may go online and view Colorado Title 31 for a detailed description of the steps that are being taken
2. Who would conduct the election and what rules would be followed?
The Saguache County District Court determines if we are granted permission to vote. This is based upon the submission of a petition and determination that the proper criteria for incorporation have been met. Once approved, individuals who both reside within the proposed boundaries and are registered voters get to vote in an election organized according to Colorado municipal election code.
Please note that adherence to Colorado municipal code will ensure a fair and transparent process of counting the votes, resulting in a decision reflective of the will of residents of the Baca Grande.
Eligible electors are persons 18 years of age, a US citizen, and a resident for twenty-two days immediately preceding the election. You must be registered to vote in the State of Colorado.
3. What is the area that is involved? I live in the POA, am I included, what are the exceptions?
The POA Plat map was used for determining the proposed town boundaries. So, if you live within the territory currently managed by the POA you will be included within the town boundaries. The exceptions are 40+ acres lots which have been excepted from the town boundaries per the notice that was sent to those specific property owners. These comprise of mostly non- profit spiritual centers; therefore, they would not contribute to the tax base of the proposed town.
Eligible electors will receive notification of the upcoming election. If you believe you have been omitted from the list in error, please verify your voter registration information on the Colorado Secretary of State website or at the Saguache County Clerk’s office. You can also notify the Selectboard Volunteers via the Contact Us Link on the Website: https://townofbacagrande.info/
4. What are the benefits of becoming our own municipality? How is that different from our current governance under a POA?
The Baca Grande is a very large territory consisting of around 10, 500 acres (16.1 square miles). The population has grown to approximately 1,236 residents. The total population for the county of Saguache is around 6800 residents. So nearly one fifth of the total population of the county resides in the Baca. Normally a population of that size comprised within a territory of that size is governed within the structure of a town or city. And then within that structure HOAs or POAs may govern housing communities. It's been a highly unusual situation these many decades to have the POA be the only structure of governance given that generally associations are not tasked with the responsibilities that towns normally take on such as infrastructure, services like public works and safety, a business district etc.
Now that the population has grown and continues to grow its time for us to consider the best and most practical way for our community to be governed. We live in a unique setting geographically too and face challenges with climate change together with growth. A municipality works within a set structure of guidelines set by the State. Therefore there is a more uniform approach. As a municipality we can apply for state and federal funding to assist with improvements in infrastructure and services that would benefit us all.
5. What is the advantage of becoming a town in terms of finances?
Towns have the advantage of multiple revenue streams starting with taxes – property taxes, sales taxes, lodging taxes – in addition to state and federal assistance through grants, zero-interest and low-interest loans for infrastructure. As a Town, Highway User Tax Funds would be available to assist with road maintenance and improvement.
Towns also have the advantage of being able to collect past due taxes utilizing the services of the County Treasurer with minimal cost. Contrast this to the hundreds of thousands of dollars expended by the BGPOA to collect past dues.
6. How will the day-to-day workings of the Town of Baca Grande be funded?
Instead of a flat fee assessment of dues, property tax revenue would be based on value of the property. Costs would be higher for developed lots, Costs for vacant land would most likely decrease. The advantage would be that revenue required to cover expenditures would be distributed more equitably than currently under the one lots/one dues system.
The Town would have the option for additional funding from other sources besides the property owners and residents.
7. What taxes that I am paying now, will go to the Town of Baca Grande?
The taxes you currently pay such as property taxes, license plate fees, sales taxes now go to Saguache County and are supposed to come back to our community in the way of maintenance and services to infrastructure. But there is no accounting for this. As a town these tax dollars we pay will come back to us to use in our town as the residents vote upon. Property taxes may go up for homeowners and the general cost for vacant lots will go down as they will no longer have annual assessments to pay.
8. Who decides on how the money collected by the town is spent?
In providing services to citizens, local governments determine which and what levels of services they provide through a budget process. Colorado local governments are required to prepare, adopt and file a budget with the Division annually. The responsibility for adopting a budget and certifying a mill levy to cover expenditures rests with the elected Board of Trustees.
Colorado’s Local Government Budget Law requires that the draft budget be made available to the public in order to encourage citizens’ input. A budget message containing specific issues and decisions affected by the budget is also included. These procedures are outlined in Colorado Statutes.
9. Will we be able to make new rules that are more fitting for the times and for our community?
The election is only the first step in a process to incorporate as a town. Volunteers will be needed to serve as Trustees and committee members. One advantage of using municipal statutes is the statutes require citizen participation about decisions around funding, services needed, enforcement, etc.
Note also that the town charter or town governance will follow the basic structure set by the State of CO by which all towns and cities abide. Above that we as a community can form our collective vision and vote on matters that affect our town governance. Requirements under statute require citizen participation in decisions as they are made, including public hearings.
10. I own my property in the proposed town boundaries but I did not receive a notice of petition card. Is there anyway to correct this?
Yes, please reach out to us via the Contact Us Link and give us your name, property address and parcel number as well as your mailing address and we will add you to our mailing address and also refer the information to the Saguache County Assessor's Office which is whom we received our orginal mailing list per C.R.S 31-2-101
11. What does HUTF stand for?
Highway User Tax Fund. We each pay to this fund when we register our car annually and purchase gas. This revenue stream is used to maintain and improve roads in Colorado. We can gain acces to these funds for our road once we become a municipality.
12 What does DOLA stand for?
Colorado Office of Local Affairs. This office works with local governments in the state and gave us initial resources and information on how to create the petition to incorporate.
13. Why doesn't the town of Crestone just Annex the Baca Grande Territory to be come one town?
This would take many many years for that process as the Baca Grande Terriroty is so much larger than the current town of Crestone. The state requlations has a limit of the amout of land that can be annexed per year. It is just 3 miles. However, if Baca Grande became a town Crestone could be annexed within one year. Code: C.R.S. 31-12-105(1)(e) No annexation may have the effect of extending a municipal boundary more than three miles in any one year. See, Town of Berthoud v. Town of Johnstown, 983 P.2d 174 (Colo.App.1999) Letting stand a district court order that “one year” was a running 12 months, but see, C.R.S. 2-4-107: “year” defined as a “calendar year.”
14. I would like to learn more, are there information meetings organized?
Yes, there will be scheduled public forums for property owners who both reside here and are registered voters. Only these people will be invited to the initial forums as they are the only ones who will be able to vote in the matter of becoming a town. Once the election is complete and the majority have voted 'yes' on the proposed municipality, then the entire community who is registered to vote will be able to participate.
Please visit our website: https://townofbacagrande.info/
15. I would like to be a part of this and support the new Town of Baca Grande, can I volunteer?
Yes, there will be many opportunities to volunteer even if you are not able to vote in the initial election. You can submit your name and email using the contact us link just below on the Website.
Funds are needed to complete the initial steps to form the municipality, including conducting the election. You can donate financial contributions again by contacting a volunteer commissioner or through a GoFundMe campaign which will be set up shortly.
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We are holding weekly Zoom meetings. You can also provide your name and email in the contact us button to be added to a distribution list. Please provide us feedback at this Survey Link:
The PayPal link can be used for payments to request a copy of the filed petition for the Incorporation of the Town of Baca Grande. The PayPal link can also be used to send a donation to the Baca Grande Committee to assist in the cost of both getting information out to the community and help cover the cost of the election. Thanks, The Baca Grande Committe
The Volunteer Committee is seeking financial support for providing educational material and the implementation of an election via our Website, legal counsel, rental fees for public hearings, and printing/mailing costs. We are very grateful for your generosity.