In December of 2019 the county commissioners in Morgan, Logan, Sedgwick and Washington counties certified the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District at 1.000 mills, double the amount allocated them on a yearly basis since early in the district’s formation.
Since then a group of property owners have been seeking recourse for the decision, claiming that the increase in mill levy was a violation of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which necessitates voter approval of both tax increases and the retention of excess funds if revenues grow faster than the rate of inflation and population growth. On May 19 William Banta, an attorney and legal council for the TABOR committee, sent a letter to the district.
“It has come to our attention that, in spite of TABOR, the Board of Directors of the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District increased the District’s mill levy for 2020 without having voter approval,” the letter said. “Although we understood that the district received permission from the voters in 1996 to keep and use excess revenues there was no approval to increase a mill levy.”
The 1996 ballot measure is central to the district’s legal argument. The voters approved the ballot measure giving the district the right to retain and spend an additional $13,025 and access “the full proceeds and revenues received from every source whatever, without limitation, in 1996 and all subsequent years.”