HBA Lobbyist Mary Kay Hogan Rescues Metro District Financing
Billion Dollar Impact on the Economy

The Colorado Association of Home Builders, through its lobbyist Mary Kay Hogan, was responsible for organizing the lobbying effort behind what became Senate Bill 16-211, which sought to resolve the retroactive ambiguity crated by the Marin Court regarding the validity of electors and actions of district directors prior to the date of the decision.  This politically and financially sensitive problem had to be solved in less than three calendar weeks as the Colorado Legislature was constitutionally required to adjourn on May 11.  The bill was sponsored by the Senate President and Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House and House Majority Leader.   The bill passed the final week of session by a 100-0 vote, and Governor Hickenlooper signed it into law on May 18.  While there has been much criticism of this year’s legislature failing to tackle difficult problems, this bipartisan effort by legislative leadership showed how the spirit of problem solving is indeed alive and well under the gold dome, perhaps just not as often as we would like.

On April 21, 2016, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued a decision related to the Landmark project in Greenwood Village (Landmark Towers Association v. UMB Bank, hereinafter “Marin”). The decision called into question the validity of previously held elections for the vast majority of the 1,475 metropolitan districts in Colorado.  While the Marin case involves a pattern of bad behavior, those facts are unique to the case.  The decision, however, applies to facts that are common to nearly all Colorado special districts.  Although the case will be appealed in an attempt to overturn or narrow the Court's findings, that process could take years and its outcome is uncertain.  Meanwhile, the uncertainty and risk created by the decision jeopardized existing and planned elections and financings throughout the state.  Therefore, the General Assembly had to provide clarity to the Court before the 2016 legislature adjourned on May 11, because over $9 billion in local government debt issued in Colorado over the last 15 years was subject to challenge without legislative direction.
This successful lobbying effort would not have been possible without the legislative drafting skill of a handful of municipal finance and special district attorneys, including MaryAnn McGeady, Dee Wisor, Peter Whitmore, Saranne Maxwell, and Caroline White.  Investment Banker Sam Sharp was pivotal in providing expertise on the impact the case had on the bond market.   Additional expertise was provided by the Colorado Special District Association, Colorado Municipal League, and Colorado Bankers Association.  
The next step will be to work on legislation in 2017 to address prospective metropolitan district formation elections.  CAHB will continue to serve in a leadership role in this effort, along with the coalition that worked on SB 211.

Follow Us on Facebook Join Us on LinkedIn