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What is a Metro District?

Metropolitan districts (“Metro Districts”) are local governments authorized by Colorado’s Special District Act to fund public improvements for a particular neighborhood or community.

The Special District Act requires Metro Districts to operate within its approved Service Plan. The Service Plan is the Metro District’s specific governing document.  Southshore’s Service Plan can be located on the website under Documents. 

The Southshore Metro District owns both community centers, parks, common areas and open space on 160 acres.

How does a Metro District operate?

Metro Districts are local governments, and their Boards of Directors (each a “Board”) operate similarly to a city council or Board of County Commissioners.

The Board of the Metro District is its governing body. Southshore’s Board has 5 members who are elected to staggered four-year terms of office.

Southshore had two Metro Districts. The Southshore Metropolitan District No. 1 was the operating district used by the developer to contract, manage, and pay contractors.  Southshore’s developer ceded control in late 2021.  The operating district will be dissolved before end of year, 2023.  


The Southshore Metropolitan District No. 2 (which is to be renamed “Southshore Metropolitan District”) is the taxing district which borrowed funds used for construction.  The taxing district collects ad valorem property taxes to repay the debt and interest. Southshore residents have served on the Board of this district since 2016 and have had a majority of seats on the taxing district Board since May 2020.

How is the Board elected?

Metro District elections are held in May of odd years.  Anyone who is an eligible elector as defined in the Colorado Special District Act is eligible to vote for and serve on the Board of the Metro District.  Ballots are mailed to all eligible electors.

Is the City of Aurora involved with Southshore Metro District?

No, as long Southshore Metro District stays within the parameters of its Service Plan, it operates as an independent government unit.  The City Council of the City of Aurora approved the creation of the Southshore Metro District and its Service Plan. 

Through the Service Plan, the City of Aurora created protections to homeowners by limiting the maximum mill levy (adjusted for changes to how assessed valuations are calculated), maximum term of debt repayment, and limitation on total amount of debt issuance.

Can you attend a Metro District meeting?

Metro Districts are required to follow Colorado’s Open Meetings (Sunshine) Law.  The Board must post notice in the community.  Currently meeting notices are posted at both community centers and on the Southshore Metro District’s website home page.  

Southshore regular meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month.  Currently the meetings are held via Zoom starting at 3pm.

How to obtain Metro District meeting minutes?

The Board must keep minutes of meetings and those minutes are open to public inspection upon request.  Recent meeting minutes are available on the website under Documents.

If unable to locate the meeting minutes, please contact the Southshore Metro District principal business office at 303.218.7200.  (Please note that minutes are not available for prior meetings until formally approved by the Board at a subsequent meeting.)

What services can a Metro District offer?

Metro Districts can provide a variety of services including:

  • Street improvements

  • Water facilities and services

  • Park and recreation facilities

  • Traffic-related safety protection improvements

  • Mosquito control facilities and services

  • Security services

  • Covenant enforcement services

How are Metro Districts funded?

Metro Districts can raise revenue to fund public improvements within a community through ad valorem property taxes, fees, and the issuance of bonds.  Metro Districts’ bonds are issued as “municipal bonds” and have favorable rates because the interest paid to investors is not subject to federal or Colorado income taxes.

Ad valorem property taxes are tax deductible to residents* and can be collected through the County Treasurer at a low cost. (1.5% collection fee.)

*Currently subject to the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction limit of $10,000 per household, which is set to expire after 2025.

Unlike HoAs which have to enforce collection of dues against owners individually, Metro Districts do not have to enforce collection of unpaid taxes.  In fact, Metro Districts often achieve 100% collection rates because the County Treasurer has the power to impose a tax lien for unpaid taxes.

Do Metro Districts have debt?

Metro Districts have the ability to finance public improvements over long period of time which presents a savings to residents who can pay for public improvements over time instead of upfront in the purchase price of their home.

Metro Districts issue tax-exempt bonds with a lower interest rate than private funding or taxable bonds.

Southshore’s current bonds were issued in 2020.  The proceeds were used to refund all outstanding debt and paid for the construction of the Lighthouse, and public improvements (i.e. roads, water and sewer lines, and landscaping).  The 2020 bonds were approved by Southshore voters in May 2018 by a vote of 270 (yes) to 70 (no).

What other benefits do Metro Districts offer?

Metro Districts offers public accountability (public meetings, open records, elected Board) very similar to cities and counties.  As mentioned above, Metro Districts must conduct open public meetings under the Sunshine Law and are subject to a number of other laws.  

Public records of Metro Districts are available under the Colorado Open Records Act (“CORA”), they adopt their budgets under the Local Government Budget Law, prepare annual audited financial statements under the Local Government Audit Law and are limited in their ability to raise taxes and debt by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (“TABOR”).

Metro Districts participate in a sophisticated insurance pool resulting in lower insurance costs.

Metro Districts have Governmental immunity which limits the liability to its residents which also reduces insurance costs.

As local governments, Metro Districts are exempt from city and state sales and use tax when purchasing goods and equipment and facilities owned by Metro Districts (such as the Lighthouse and Lakehouse and essentially all of the ponds and landscaping in Southshore, which are owned by Southshore Metro District) are exempt from property taxes.  (In contrast, the taxable value of properties owned by homeowners associations are apportioned to all residential properties within the community.)

Additional information about Metro Districts

The Southshore Metropolitan District is committed to the transparency.  In an effort to educate members of the Southshore community, the Southshore Metro District created the following FAQ's.  

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