Procedure for consolidation
(1)Intentionally left blank —Ed.
(a)Two or more special districts may be consolidated into a single consolidated district, and such consolidation may occur between or among such districts whether or not they were originally organized for the same purpose and whether or not such districts are contiguous.
(b)Two or more special districts may consolidate one or more of their services whether or not they were originally organized for the same purpose and whether or not such districts are contiguous.
(2)Consolidation may be accomplished in the following manner:
(a)The board of any special district shall pass a consolidation resolution declaring that such district and any specified special district or districts are so situated that all such districts may operate or that one or more specified services of each of the districts may be operated effectively and economically as a consolidated district and that the public health, safety, prosperity, and general welfare of the inhabitants of the special district initiating the consolidation will be better served by the consolidation of such districts or services. The resolution shall also state the proposed name of the proposed consolidated district, the special districts or services to be included within the proposed consolidated district, whether the board of the consolidated district will have five or seven directors, any special conditions that may attach to the consolidated district, and the time limit within which the included special districts must approve the consolidation resolution in order to be included within the proposed consolidated district. Such time limit shall be not later than six months after the date of such resolution.
(b)After receipt of such consolidation resolution and prior to the time limit fixed in the consolidation resolution, the board of each of the special districts named in the resolution proposing the consolidation, other than the special district initiating the proposed consolidation, shall pass a resolution either concurring in the consolidation or rejecting the same and shall send a copy of such resolution to the special district initiating the consolidation.
(c)Each special district desiring to be included or have its service or services included within the consolidated district shall file the concurring resolution with the initiating special district. If one or more special districts sought to be included in the initiating resolution file concurring resolutions stating that such consolidated district will promote the public health, safety, prosperity, and general welfare of the inhabitants within the concurring special districts, the initiating special district, within thirty days after the date of the receipt of all concurring resolutions, shall file with the board of county commissioners of each county having territory within one or more of the districts and in the court wherein the organization petition of the initiating special district was filed a copy of such consolidation resolution and the concurring resolutions of the other special districts seeking consolidation of the districts or the specified services. Any proposed consolidated district which is subject to the provisions of part 2 of this article pursuant to section 32-1-607 (6) shall first obtain approval of the service plan in accordance with the provisions of part 2 of this article. Any special district rejecting the consolidation resolution shall not thereafter be included in any consolidation proceedings then pending.
(d)When the consolidation resolution and one or more concurring resolutions are filed in court, the court shall fix a date, not less than thirty days nor more than forty days after the date of filing, within which time a hearing shall be held to determine the legality of the proposed consolidation. Notice of the filing of the resolutions and of the date fixed for hearing objections to the proposed consolidation shall be given by publication, and written notice shall be provided to the governing body of any municipality entitled to notice pursuant to section 32-1-607 (6). No pleadings shall be filed by any special district involved, but any eligible elector of, the fee owner of any real property situated within, or any county or municipality having territory within any of the special districts involved in the proposed consolidation which desires to oppose the consolidation or the inclusion of property or territory in a consolidated district shall file a written and verified petition in the court five days prior to the hearing date and serve copies thereof upon each of the special districts desiring consolidation. The petition shall set forth clearly and concisely the objections of the petitioner, which objections shall be limited to the failure of any initiating district or concurring district to comply with this part 6, or, in a consolidation of services proceeding, duplication of service to the petitioner’s property or territory by an existing municipality or special district not part of the proposed consolidated district or the provision of new and unwanted service to the petitioner’s property by the proposed consolidated district. The court shall hear the petition and all objections to it at the time of the hearing on the consolidation resolution and the concurring resolutions and shall determine whether, in the general public interest and subject to the requirements of section 32-1-503, the property should be excluded or included in the proposed consolidated district.
(e)At the hearing, if the court finds that the consolidation resolution and the concurring resolutions have been properly filed and that the board of each special district desiring to be consolidated or desiring to have specified services consolidated has proceeded in accordance with this part 6, the court shall enter an order ex parte setting an election within each of the consolidating special districts for the approval of the consolidated district by the eligible electors affected by the consolidation at the next regular special district or special election, which shall be held and conducted pursuant to article 13.5 of title 1. The order shall require publication of notice as required by section 1-13.5-510, specifying the name of the consolidated district; the names of the special districts to be consolidated or the name of the district into which specific services are to be consolidated and the names of the special districts presently empowered to provide the services; a summary of any special conditions that may attach to the consolidated district, including any preconsolidation agreements and the provisions included therein regarding the assumption of debt and the approval of any financial obligation, including accrued unfunded pension liability, as debt to remain payable by the taxpayers of the consolidating special district which incurred the obligation or maintained the pension plan to which the accrued unfunded liability attaches; if the consolidated district may be granted the powers of a metropolitan district, the effect of the change and the services a metropolitan district may provide, including any change in maximum mill levies set forth in section 32-1-1101 (1), or, if the mill levy is unlimited, the fact that there is no mill levy limit established by statute; and the area to be included within the consolidated district, which shall be all of the area originally contained within the organization order for each individual special district, together with all areas contained in any inclusions, the consolidated area not to include any area excluded by any special district being so consolidated or by the court pursuant to subsection (2)(d) of this section. If two or more districts are to be consolidated and if the consolidated district is to assume metropolitan district powers, the court shall order that the eligible electors vote separately on the question of consolidation and the question of granting the consolidated district the powers of a metropolitan district. If the eligible electors approve consolidation but reject the granting of metropolitan district powers, the consolidated district shall have only those powers granted single-purpose districts providing the same services. If all or part of the outstanding bonded indebtedness of all of the consolidating special districts is to be assumed by the consolidated district, the court shall also order that the eligible electors vote separately on the question of consolidation and the question of assuming the indebtedness at the consolidation election. If the eligible electors approve consolidation but reject the assumption of indebtedness by the consolidated district, the outstanding bonded indebtedness shall remain the obligation of the special district which incurred the bonded indebtedness and shall be paid and discharged by the taxpayers having taxable property within the boundaries of the indebted special district. If a preconsolidation agreement provides that the consolidation shall be contingent upon assumption of debt by the consolidated district, then the consolidation shall not be approved unless the assumption of indebtedness is approved by the eligible electors. If any financial obligation of one or more of the consolidating districts is to be submitted to the electors for approval as debt, the court shall also order that the electors vote separately on the question of consolidation and the question of approval of each financial obligation as debt, which issue shall be presented to the electors in accordance with section 32-1-606.5. If the electors approve consolidation but do not approve the treatment of one or more financial obligations as debt, the financial obligations not so approved shall be assumed by the consolidated district in the same manner as other obligations of consolidating districts are assumed, unless a preconsolidation agreement providing that the consolidation shall be contingent upon the approval regarding treatment of the financial obligation as debt, in which case the consolidation shall not be approved. The area of the consolidated district after the election shall be the total area of the special districts consolidated existing as of the date of the court order. No appeal shall lie from any orders of the court.
(f)Approval by a majority of the eligible electors voting in the election within each of the consolidating special districts concerning the consolidation of the special districts or specified services shall be deemed to conclusively establish the consolidated district against all persons except the state of Colorado which, within thirty-five days after the election, may contest the consolidation or the election in an action in the nature of a writ of quo warranto. Otherwise, the consolidation of the districts or services and the organization of the consolidated district shall not directly or indirectly be questioned in any action or proceeding.
(3)Any proceeding for consolidation undertaken pursuant to this section which is not approved shall not operate as a bar to any subsequently proposed consolidation of one or more of the special districts or services named in the consolidation resolution with any other special district or with each other. The provisions of section 32-1-106 shall not apply to any subsequently proposed consolidation.
Section 32-1-602 — Procedure for consolidation,
https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/images/olls/crs2023-title-32.pdf (accessed Oct. 20, 2023).