Foxridge Fence FAQ's
Have a Question about the Foxridge Fence project? We have answers.
Q1. Financing a new fence over 20 years increases the total cost of the fence; is this the best option for fence replacement?
Financing a new fence is similar to financing a new car or house – yes, it costs more money in the long run. But just like you might not have cash on hand for a new car or house, we don’t have enough reserves to pay for a new fence up front, or even over four years. One of the benefits of financing over 20 years is payment of the fence will be shared among current and future homeowners who will enjoy the benefits of a new fence.
Q2. If a mill levy election is successful this fall, would some homeowners actually pay up to 270% increase in their taxes?
No, the mill levy tax is proportional to the value of your home, so although the actual tax dollar amount varies, the percentage doesn't fluctuate. Current city estimates (purposely figured on the high end to be safe) indicate an increase of no more than 220%, although the actual requested increase will likely be lower. This amounts to an estimated 4.5% increase in your total tax bill. Not only would this $20 a month (on average) per property pay for new fences, it also factors in current ongoing non-fence GID costs (landscaping, sprinklers, etc), as well as election costs, loan interest and other financing costs.
Q3. What would the cost be to homeowners if we phased in new fences over four years?
Replacement phased in over four years would still require a mill levy increase. Estimated costs are $291 a year for cedar and $525 for Trex (cedar has additional costs related to maintenance and regular staining in future years). Phased replacement would indeed save interest costs in years 5-20, but current owners would bear a much larger share of the costs than future owners. Previous neighborhood surveys indicated a preference for a 20-year debt over a short-term assessment.
Q4. What fence material was selected?
Survey results indicate Trex, with 66% selecting Trex over Cedar. Low maintenance and a 25-year warranty make Trex an appealing solution for Foxridge. You can see a Trex fence close by at the Mira Vista neighborhood along Dry Creek, just west of Holly.
Q5. What is the status of the fence easements?
Easement documents and notification letters were mailed to property owners with adjacent GID fences the week of April 8th in time for informational meetings on April 18th. Property owners are in the process of signing and returning the documents to the city. Those with questions about their fence easement or adjacent landscaping, sheds, etc, can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Foxridge Fence FAQs
Q6. Results of the March questionnaire conducted by the City indicate a strong interest in replacing the GID fences with Trex.
The purpose of the questionnaire was to help the FGID Board of Directors (City Council) decide whether or not there is enough interest to put a measure on the ballot this fall and also to gauge interest in material type. Next steps are being taken by City staff to develop ballot language for the November election.
Q7. Who was invited to complete the online FGID fence questionnaire?
The questionnaire was communicated to all in the neighborhood via Nextdoor, Facebook and the delivery of the March Foxtales. It was also posted on the Foxridge Improvement Association website. Lastly, a group of volunteers distributed flyers to all homes, except potentially those with “No Soliciting” noted at their door.
Q8. Why did the final vote count go down in the final tally?
City staff gave out raw survey results over the phone to interested residents while the survey was ongoing. Once the survey closed, City staff scrubbed the raw data by discarding all but the first response from each street address and by discarding responses without valid street addresses. The result of this data scrubbing was that the final vote tallies were smaller than the raw vote tallies. However, the data scrubbing didn’t have much effect on the overall results; percentages of over 70% in favor of replacement and over 65% in favor of Trex held steady throughout the survey time period, including after data scrubbing.
Q9. Does the City’s financial model show the annual tax changing over the years?
Yes. The City’s average-residence model for Trex shows a 20-year average $226, which they rounded up to $230 to be cautious. Since $226 is an average over 20 years, the tax starts out below $226 at year 1 and ends up above $226 at year 20. The tax then decreases steeply to $111 at year 20 as the bond is retired and then rises linearly to $155 at year 30 to support the ongoing cost of maintaining all the GID assets. Here is the City’s model:
Q10. Why don’t we just refurbish the existing fences?
Refurbishment is not a viable solution because of its cost and the short life expectancy of the refurbished fences. The City asked for and received a quote to repair and stain the fences from an established fence contractor in late summer 2018. Current reserves and GID annual income are not sufficient to pay the $527,437 total cost that the City modeled from this quote that includes base cost, additional costs, and ongoing costs (March Foxtales, pg 4). Paying for this would require an estimated mill levy per average home of $154 per year for five years. The contractor also estimated that refurbishment could extend the life of the fences 5-7 years from the date of the assessment, requiring another fence replacement initiative, with proposed mill levy increase, to begin again in 3-5 years.
Q11. Why hasn’t more attention been given to fence maintenance in recent years?
Maintenance activities have continued since 2014 to make sure the fence is secure. After recognizing that the aging fences would likely need replacing, the decision was made to start reserving funds to be used on a new fence, rather than spend on a fence that would likely be replaced. In addition, a couple of years ago, the City required that only emergency repair work be completed while the property interest issue was being resolved.
Please continue reading for answers to previous questions that might be helpful to you.
Foxridge Fence FAQs
The Foxridge GID is hoping for a mill levy increase question on the November ballot so that residents can vote on replacing the Foxridge fences. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.
1. How much GID fencing is there?
There are roughly 3 miles of perimeter and arterial fencing in Foxridge that are supported by the Foxridge General Improvement District.
2. Why is a mill levy increase necessary?
The GID mill levy has not increased since its inception in 1990, and income has not kept up with inflation. Any mill levy increase must be approved by voters because of the TABOR amendment; that is what we are attempting to do now. Annual property taxes of $3500 on an average home in Foxridge would go up $159 per year which is 4.5%. Our aging neighborhood fences simply require more income.
3. How much will the average property owner pay in the FGID taxes if the fence is replaced?
The City estimates $230 will be the total FGID annual tax on an average home. Of this, $159 is for the new fence through a 20-year debt. The $230 is rounded up from $226 to be cautious and also contains a 20% contingency and other expenditures the City has proposed, some of which we may not ultimately need. Once fence material is determined and competitive bids are received, we can work with the City on the numbers to bring lifetime costs as low as possible. If the loan is paid off earlier, the mill levy can drop more quickly. However, the City needs to know whether the community is willing to pay up to their top-end estimate of $230/year for new fences. Please note that this amount is tax deductible and covers not only new fences, but also all annual GID work, including sprinklers, landscaping, entry gardens and monuments.
4. Why don’t we just refurbish the existing fences?
Refurbishment is not a viable solution because of the cost and the limited life expectancy of the fence. Current reserves and GID annual income are not sufficient to pay the $527,437 estimated refurbishment cost. It would require an estimated mill levy per average home of $154 per year for five years to adequately repair and stain the fences. Refurbishment would likely extend the life of the current fence 5-7 years, requiring another fence replacement initiative to begin in 3-5 years. Previous fence assessments did not provide cost estimates and financial modeling.
5. Why are cedar and Trex so close in cost?
Upfront costs are higher for Trex whereas ongoing costs are higher for cedar, and these two factors almost exactly balance out to a 20-year average tax of about $226 per year in the model that the City staff published. This model assumes that we would stain a cedar fence every four years. If we relax it to eight years, the cedar average cost drops to $200 per year, which is 12% less expensive than Trex. However, staining less frequently could mean needing to replace the cedar fence sooner than 25 years out.
6. When will the new fence be constructed?
If the mill levy passes in November, the fence will likely be constructed in 2020.
7. How much per month will the tax increase be?
The cautious estimate of $230 per year is an increase over the current average of $71 per year that amounts to a per-month increase of ($159/12), which is $13.25 more per month.
8. Why don’t we have an assessment to pay for the fence upfront and save all the finance costs?
Earlier feedback from the community favored a 20-year debt with smaller annual mill levy per home. Even though the total cost is higher, it spreads the cost among all property owners over the next 20 years so that current owners do not bear all the burden.
9. What is the warranty on a Trex fence?
The City has received a 25-year written Trex warranty specifically for the Foxridge Fence Project.
10. What about the life expectancy of Trex?
It is clear that Trex fencing lasts at least 30 years. Research and development show it lasting between 40 and 50 years, but Trex fencing has not been around long enough to know for sure. The lifetime cost of a Trex fence over 40 years is lower than cedar when considering ongoing maintenance costs and the need to replace a cedar fence earlier.
11. Why should people who do not have property adjacent to a GID fence help pay for the fence?
The GID fence is our community asset, along with the trees, shrubs, entry gardens and monuments. All contribute to the attractiveness of Foxridge and make our community appealing to residents and potential home-buyers, supporting the resale values of our homes.
12. Why should a property owner with a GID fence grant the city a fence easement?
In addition to supporting a community asset that keeps our home values high, these residents benefit by having a new GID fence paid for by all property owners in the neighborhood (934 in all). In addition, if they have any private sections, it is likely that they would get a discount of up to 30% if they choose to replace at the same time and with the same material as the GID fence replacement.
13. I’m a renter. Why should I vote “yes”?
A new fence means you live in a more attractive neighborhood, and you would not directly pay for a new fence, since payment would come from a small (4.5%) increase in the property taxes your landlord pays, which is an even smaller fraction of your landlord’s cost of ownership.
14. How can I be sure that an unscrupulous person will not return more than one survey?
The City is operating the survey to ensure the integrity of the results, including designing the survey to reject any attempt to respond more than once from any given device.
15. Why is only one response per house allowed when there may be several voters per house?
Responses will be limited to one per address, in order to establish a statistical confidence level and margin of error. City staff was tasked to attain a 95% confidence level on the survey results that they report to City Council. To do that, they need to compare the number of returned surveys to the number surveys that could be returned. Since they do not accurately know how many people live in the 934 houses in Foxridge, they must stick with 934 as the maximum number of surveys, and thus need one per household.
16. How do we know the mill levy will really drop after 20 years?
It will be built into the ballot language.
17. Who owns the fences?
This is unclear, but steps are being taken to resolve this issue once and for all through the easement document that the City is asking all FGID fence-property owners to sign.
18. Why hasn’t more money been spent on fence maintenance in recent years?
After recognizing that the aging fences would likely need replacing, the decision was made to start reserving funds to be used on a new fence, rather than spend on a fence that would likely be replaced soon. In addition, a couple of years ago, the City required that only emergency repair work be completed while the property interest issue was being resolved.
19. What are the FGID expenditures for the last few years?
Although fence maintenance expenses have dropped, fence-related legal expenses and fence location assessment expenses (Farnsworth Group) have increased as the City began working on the easement issue.
Caption: Data taken directly from the City’s accounting system.