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Hearing to be held on Timber Ridge metro district Service Plan

With the prospect it will become the newest special district in Archuleta County, the draft Service Plan for Timber Ridge’s proposed metropolitan district will be considered by the Board of County Commissioners on Sept. 20.

That hearing was scheduled after the proposed Service Plan to create the metro district was filed with the state auditor, county clerk and Department of Local Affairs. Once a plan is filed, the Board of County Commissioners must then schedule a hearing within 30 days.

To accommodate the law, the BoCC scheduled the hearing for 9 a.m. on Sept. 20.

County Attorney Todd Starr noted that the hearing is being held during a special meeting and is expected to be lengthy.

Also involving Timber Ridge at the meeting was a request to forgive the interest and penalties on a county-held lien amounting to $3,834.03 for a 2008 tax bill, which amounted to $10,310.52.

In introducing the “odd” circumstances behind the request, County Assessor Natalie Woodruff said the plat for the parcel in question was vacated in District Court, causing a “slew of problems.”

Woodruff explained that the parcel should have been owned by the Timber Ridge Homeowner’s Association (HOA) but, through a foreclosure involving a previous contractor dealing with the subdividing of the property, is owned by individuals who are now responsible for the tax bill.

The HOA is currently in the process of purchasing the parcel to become greenbelt for the subdivision, which would then be subject to a tax-exempt status, according to Woodruff.

Further adding to the issue was the fact that, since the plat was vacated by the District Court, no legal description existed when the property was foreclosed on, Woodruff said.

Woodruff later added that the taxes for the 2008 tax year have now been paid.

“Since part of the problem has been that we had no idea how to address the conveyances regarding legal descriptions that no longer existed and therefore could not assign parcel numbers for the calculation of value, I feel that, if possible, to be fair to all, that we forgive the interest and penalties associated with this very unfortunate circumstance, that is still not totally resolved, so that the only taxes due are for the 2011 tax year,” Woodruff wrote in the request’s agenda documentation.

Starr then sought to further explain the situation, stating that the court did, in fact, vacate the plat — something the county was not, and would not, be party to — reverting the property back to metes and bounds and changing deeds and deeds of trust.

Starr then said forgiving the interest and penalties was a, “very good, practical solution” to the “mess” to clean it up as inexpensively as possible for the taxpayers.

“This is one where you just trust your lawyer,” Commissioner Michael Whiting said before the item unanimously passed.

In other news at the meeting, the BoCC:

• Cancelled taxes per state statute on personal property and mobile home accounts that have been delinquent for one or more years and are deemed uncollectible.

In explaining the request, County Treasurer Betty Diller said the mobile homes included in the request have either been destroyed by snow, collapsed or were illegally moved out of the county.

• Approved the issuance of quit claim deeds for three properties sold at auction on Aug. 14.

The three properties were county-held properties not sold at auction last year and consist of three vacant lots in the Vista subdivision, Diller said.

In the past year, the county has canceled taxes on the properties, the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association has moved to not charge delinquent dues, and the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District canceled delinquent fees, making the properties more attractive, Diller said.

• Held an executive session to receive legal advice and/or determine matters that may be subject to negotiation concerning an airport parcel.

The next regular meeting of the BoCC will be at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 in the courthouse.

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