November 18, 2017

Archives for September 9, 2011

Governor Hickenlooper Appoints Gonzales as District Judge for Twelfth Judicial District

On Friday, September 9, 2011, Governor John Hickenlooper announced his appointment of Michael Anthony Gonzales to serve as a district judge in the Twelfth Judicial District, which serves Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache counties. Gonzales will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable O. John Kuenhold and his appointment will be effective October 1.

Gonzales is from Alamosa and currently serves as the Alamosa County Court Judge, where he has worked since 2007. He has spent the majority of his career working on criminal law prosecution and litigation.

Previously, Gonzales worked in the Twelfth Judicial District’s Office of the District Attorney, serving as Chief Deputy District Attorney for six years. Before that, he worked as an adjunct professor at Trinidad State College. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Creighton University and his law degree from the University of Colorado.

James Johnson: Colorado Amends “Agricultural Land” Classification

Post by James T. Johnson and Kimberly A. Martin

In May of this year, Governor Hickenlooper signed into law House Bill 11-1146, which amends the statutory definition of “agricultural land” for property tax purposes.  Historically, land underlying a residence located on a parcel of property that otherwise was classified as “agricultural land” was also classified as agricultural land for property tax purposes.  This classification resulted in the residence being qualified for more favorable “agricultural” property tax treatment as compared to the residential classification.

Under House Bill 11-1146, now excluded from the classification of “agricultural land” is up to two acres of land upon which a “residential improvement” is located if the residential improvement is not “integral to an agricultural operation” conducted on the land.  Any such excluded land will be classified as “residential land” for property tax purposes, but the remainder of the property would retain its agricultural classification.  If the residence is integral to the operation of a farm or ranch, the classification does not change.  Further, vacant land or any other land upon which a residence is not located, whether or not subdivided, is not affected by this legislation.

House Bill 11-1146 does not expressly define “integral” but provides that a residence is deemed integral to an agricultural operation if the person occupying such residence “either regularly conducts, supervises, or administers material aspects of the agricultural operation or is the spouse or a parent, grandparent, sibling, or child” of such person. As with all classifications of property for taxation purposes, the applicable county assessor is responsible for making the determination of whether property underlying a residence should be classified as “agricultural land” or “residential land,” in other words, whether the residence is “integral” to a farm or ranch operation. The determination may be appealed to the applicable county board of equalization.

Implementation of House Bill 11-1146 may implicate the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), in that it may result in an increase in tax revenues to local governments and/or special districts in excess of the revenue limits prescribed by TABOR. If the local government or special district previously has not obtained voter approval to retain and spend excess revenues (known as “de-Brucing”) and determines that the implementation of House Bill 11-1146 will cause a net property tax gain that exceeds TABOR’s limits, House Bill 11-1146 provides that the government or district may place the issue before the voters for approval. If the voters do not approve the retention of the excess revenues, or if the government or district does not submit the issue to the voters, it must adjust its mill levy to eliminate any such net property tax revenue gain.

House Bill 11-1146 will apply to the 2012 property tax year and all subsequent tax years.

James Johnson is a Shareholder in Otten Johnson’s land use, real estate, and litigation groups. He represents clients in all aspects of real estate development and related issues, including disputes regarding entitlement approvals and eminent domain.

Kimberly Martin is s an associate in the firm’s land use and real estate practice groups. Her practice focuses on all aspects of entitlement matters.

They contribute to the firm’s Rocky Mountain Real Estate Law blog, where this post (and a client alert) originally appeared on August 23, 2011.

Tom Mighell: Spring Cleaning During the Summer – Taking Out the Junk

Editor’s Note: This post is the third in a series about maintaining technology and improving functionality.

I’ll finish my “Spring Cleaning During the Summer” series by talking about what’s inside your computer, now that we’ve done our best to clean the outside.  If you’re like me, you’ve installed a lot of programs that you no longer use, and you probably also have a lot of junk on your computer that you don’t even know is there.  For example, when you open an attachment to an email, Windows is very helpful (sarcasm intended) when it saves a copy of that attachment in a temporary file.  If you aren’t regularly cleaning out that Temp folder, you’ll be very surprised all the junk that’s being stored there.  Here are a couple of suggestions on how to keep the junk off your hard drive.

Delete What You Don’t Need.  If you have programs you don’t use anymore, I recommend you not use the Uninstall Programs feature of Windows – it does a decent job, but I find that stray directories and registry entries are often left behind.  Instead, I use Revo Uninstaller (free, or $39.25 for more features), which does a fantastic job of thoroughly removing a program from your computer.  It uses the program’s own uninstall process to remove the basic files.  Then it does a deep cleaning of your registry and file structure, and gives you the ability to delete all the files and items it finds.  I run Revo Uninstaller at least every month or two, especially if I have installed new programs I don’t use or like during that time.

Keeping Up to Date.  It’s also important to regularly update the programs you do have, but it can be a pain to have to keep visiting all the software sites to see if an update is available.  Most programs have a “Check for Update” feature under the Help or About menu, but that can also be time-consuming.  Instead, check out UpdateStar ($34.95), a program that scans all of your software, and regularly reports back if there’s an updated version.  You can download many programs directly from UpdateStar – it’s an incredibly convenient way of updating your software.

Time for a Deep Clean.  I’ve mentioned CCleaner (Free) a bunch on this blog and in presentations, and there’s a reason for that – it is an amazing computer cleaner.  I will run CCleaner after running Revo Uninstaller, just in case it happened to miss a stray file – CCleaner has its own Registry Cleaner which will scan for obsolete or unneeded registry entries and get rid of them for good.  CCleaner will also empty your Recycle Bin, and remove files from those pesky hidden temporary files that get created whenever you open attachments to an email.  You can also use CCleaner to do a more thorough cleaning, to make sure that the empty space on your hard drive (otherwise known as the slack space) is completely wiped of any residual programs, documents, or other data.

Put Everything Together Again.  Sometimes files or parts of a program get a little separated from each other on your hard drive.  The closer things are on your hard drive, the faster and better your drive performs.  That’s why it’s important to “defragment” your hard drive on a regular basis. If you’re using Windows 7, you already have a defragger built in – just go to “Search Programs and Files” on the Start Menu, type in defrag, and the Disk Defragmenter window appears; you can then configure your schedule, or start the defrag process right then.  If you aren’t using Windows 7, then check out this page of ten disk defragmenter software programs.  One of my favorite tools, PerfectDisk, is listed at #2 – it’s a great option.

And that’s it!  I do all of these things once a month, and at the most once every two months, and my computer is in pretty good shape.  Try it for yourself.

Tom Mighell is a Senior Consultant with Contoural, Inc., where he helps companies address their records management, electronic discovery, and litigation readiness issues. Tom has followed technology trends for more than twenty years, and works with lawyers to help them use technology in ways that provide great service to their clients. He writes about technology topics, as well as the latest in law practice management tips, tricks, and resources at Inter Alia, where this post originally appeared on August 29, 2011.

Division of Real Estate Proposes New Rule About Transferring Conservation Easements to Non-Certified Entities

The DORA Division of Real Estate has proposed a new rule for the conservation easement certification program. The purpose of this rule is to prevent a non-certified organization from holding a transferred conservation easement for which a tax credit is claimed. The rule applies to any nonprofit entity and any government entity that holds a conservation easement for which a tax credit is claimed.

A hearing on the proposed rule will be held on Monday, October 24, 2011 at 1560 Broadway, Suite 1250 C, Denver, Colorado 80202, beginning at 10:00 am.

Full text of the proposed rule can be found here. Further information about the rule and hearing can be found here.

SSI Medicaid Eligibility Rules for Children Under 21 Amended

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing has amended the Medical Assistance Rules concerning Supplemental Security Income Medicaid eligibility effective dates for children under 21. The purpose of this rule change is to revise the eligibility requirements to incorporate changes in federal law governing the effective date of eligibility for individuals under 21 and to provide criteria for granting eligibility to infants who are found to be disabled shortly after birth.

The proposed language was approved for publication effective September 1, 2008. However, it was subsequently deleted through administrative error effective April 1, 2009. The proposed rule is being presented in order to reestablish the previously approved language.

A hearing on the proposed rules will be held on Friday, October 14, 2011 at The Capitol Center, 225 E. 16th Ave., 6th Floor, Denver, Colorado 80203, beginning at 9:00 am.

Full text of the proposed rules including line edits can be found here. Further information about the rules and hearing can be found here.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 9/8/11

On Thursday, September 8, 2011, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinions and two unpublished opinions.

Unpublished

Willig v. Astrue

Adgeh v. State of Oklahoma

No case summaries are available for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.