Townhomes and single-family residences are seen near the Montaine community on Oct. 17, 2022, in Castle Rock. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun via Report for America)

This story first appeared in a Colorado Community Media newspaper. Support CCM’s neighborhood news. The Colorado Sun is an owner of CCM.

Residents of Castle Rock’s various metropolitan districts are on the hook for almost $1 billion in debt taken on to build public infrastructure.

At Castle Rock’s town council meeting on Tuesday, Pete Manger, assistant director of finance for the town, presented a summary on the 37 active metro districts in Castle Rock, which have a combined debt of $943 million as of 2021. 

Metro districts are a special taxing entity that can issue bonds to fund infrastructure, such as roads and water and sewer lines. The districts then tax property owners to pay off the debt.

Manger said the metro districts added around $58 million to their debt between 2020 and 2021. He also noted that 48% of the $943 million debt is accrued interest.

Last year, Castle Rock’s metro districts collected around $32 million in property taxes, compared to the town collecting around $1.4 million in property taxes.

Though the town is not responsible for the metro districts’ debt, Town Manager David Corliss said it does impact the town’s ability to raise property taxes.

“When we get the comment about ‘wouldn’t we like to be able to raise the town’s property tax mill levy,’ when you see what the metro districts impose, that just serves as an artificial buffer on our ability to ask voters for a higher property tax,” Corliss said.