AURORA | Denver lawmakers want to turn the area around Denver International Airport into an “aerotropolis,” but Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan said June 4 he won’t support any proposal to do that unless it’s economically beneficial for Aurora residents.
In a letter sent to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock June 4, Hogan lambasted an idea by Hancock to create a special district that would split most of the tax revenue generated by commercial development around DIA.
Hancock’s proposal is to split most of the tax revenue generated from the special district among Aurora, Adams County, Commerce City and Denver. The money could be used by those communities for road improvements, bridges and other public infrastructure projects.
Hogan said Hancock’s revenue-sharing proposal violates a 1988 Intergovernmental Agreement between Denver and Adams County. Under that contract, Adams County voters de-annexed 54 square miles of county land so Denver could build DIA, with the promise that economic development would take place around the airport. Hogan said Hancock’s proposal would require an amendment to the contract and create a new layer of government that will assess a new tax, but Aurora residents wouldn’t get much out of it.
“My Council does not believe this is revenue sharing,” Hogan said in the letter. “Denver would keep every cent it receives from property taxes, sales taxes, employment taxes and any other taxes.”
Hogan said he’s uncertain whether any revenue Aurora received from the new tax would even be usable for public infrastructure projects under the legal terms of the Intergovernmental Agreement.
“I cannot, in good conscience, go to my citizens and tell them this is a fair deal,” Hogan wrote.
Hogan said an agreement in the best interests of Denver and Aurora should be struck soon.
“Aurora is increasingly concerned that we have been meeting and talking about this issue for more than a year without resolution,” he wrote. “In the meantime, a cloud is hanging over economic development around DIA and that is not in the best interests of regionalism.”
Reach reporter Sara Castellanos at 720-449-9036 or firstname.lastname@example.org