STATEMENTS OF SIGNIFICANT WORK EFFORT
The following summaries set forth the general areas of expertise and practice of our Firm:
1. Special Districts. Since its founding in 1978, Collins Cockrel & Cole (CCC) has been a leader of law firms serving Colorado Special Districts. Jim Collins co-founded the Special District Association, and continues to serve as its Executive Vice President. Paul Cockrel played a major role in drafting the Special District Act and testifying on legislation affecting special districts; and CCC has drafted other significant legislation, including rewriting the election, Special District, and ﬁrefighter pension statutes.
CCC regularly oversees and supervises all aspects of legal matters related to the organization, governance, management, and service provision for Special District clients throughout Colorado. Services include elections, budgeting, contracting, regulations, and statutory and constitutional compliance. CCC is active in the organization of all forms of Title 32 districts, as well as municipal and county Assessment, Service, and Improvement districts. The Firm regularly assists Special Districts with the multi-district structures and inclusion and exclusion of territory, in both innovative and more common circumstances.
The Firm stands in the forefront of Special District consolidations and intergovernmental contracting arrangements, and has formed some of the largest and most successful consolidated Special Districts and Service Authorities in Colorado. CCC spearheads complex negotiations and, when necessary, litigation related to governmental business.
2. Municipalities. CCC represents large and small Municipalities throughout Colorado as general and special counsel. CCC regularly oversees, and supervises all aspects of Municipal legal matters related to the governance, management, and service arrangements. Services include elections, budgeting, contracting, regulatory, and statutory and constitutional compliance. Much of the Firm’s ongoing work involves complex development projects for municipal and landowner clients, including negotiating and drafting annexation, public improvement, and development financing agreements. CCC was the driving legal force behind the successful District Court and Colorado Supreme Court litigation, legislation and incorporation proceedings that lead to the 2001 formation of the City of Centennial.
3. Water and Wastewater Matters. CCC serves Special District, Municipal, and private clients in all aspects of water and wastewater matters. These services include adjudicating water rights, protecting and opposing water rights applications, developing water supply plans, obtaining state and federal permits for water projects, and participating in water quality and wastewater permitting proceedings. The Firm has extensive experience obtaining water court decrees for municipal water rights, augmentation and water supply plans, and orchestrating administrative proceedings. CCC assists clients with water acquisition and development, negotiating and drafting water purchase and lease agreements, and researching and preparing water rights title reports. CCC attorneys have also represented clients in water proceedings before the Colorado Supreme Court.
4. Local Government Revenue and Finance. CCC assists its Special District and Municipal clients in all aspects of revenue and ﬁnancing matters. In the area of revenue, the Firm regularly advises clients regarding authorizing and administering property, sales, and real estate transfer taxes; service fees and rates; and implementation of the TABOR Amendment to the Colorado Constitution, including TABOR enterprise qualifications.
CCC is involved in an average of twenty bond issues per year, including general obligation and revenue bonds, tax anticipation notes, private activity bonds and lease-purchase financings. The Firm serves as Issuer’s Counsel to the local government issuing the bonds, structuring the bond details, rates, costs and covenant requirements. CCC does not serve as bond, disclosure or tax counsel. CCC is listed in the Bond Buyer’s Municipal Marketplace (the Redbook) and is thoroughly experienced in seeking voter approvals and coordinating financing activities between public entities, special bond counsel and bond underwriters. The Firm regularly assists with direct placement of debt, yielding lower interest rates and lower costs of issuance, including working with ﬁnancial advisors.
As an alternative to debt ﬁnancing, CCC regularly assists Special District and Municipal clients with lease—purchase financing. The Firm reviews and drafts lease-purchase agreements to comply with statutory and TABOR requirements, as well as the practical needs of the individual client.
CCC works with numerous grant and loan programs, including the Conservation Trust Fund, Energy/Mineral Impact Fund, Gaming Impact Fund, Highway Users Trust Fund, Volunteer Fireﬁghter State Contributions, Community Development Block Grants, Colorado State Forest Service grants, Colorado Water and Power Development Authority grant and loan programs, and Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency grant programs.
CCC applies its ﬁnancing knowledge with its substantial experience with governmental operations to assist with creative reﬁnancings, work-outs, restructurings, municipal bankruptcy, and other ﬁnancial challenges to achieve ﬁnancial stability in difficult times.
5. Employment Matters, CCC provides legal counseling and representation in all areas of public employer matters to both large and small local governments. The Firm regularly provides legal assistance and counseling on speciﬁc personnel matters, including employment and separation agreements, personnel policies, pre- and post-disciplinary proceedings, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, employee privacy, drug testing, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The Firm assists clients with internal investigations, coordinates independent investigators, prepares Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) responses, and organizes employment—related administrative proceedings. CCC’s attorneys work with government employers to utilize best management practices and litigation avoidance techniques, and to efficiently and equitably resolve employment disputes when they arise.
6. Intergovernmental Authorities and Operational Agreements. CCC is at the forefront statewide for developing intergovernmental authorities and operational agreements between governments, especially in the areas of infrastructure ﬁnancing and public improvement development, water and sanitation service, fire and other emergency services, dispatching, and communications.
7. Public Works Construction Contracts. CCC uses its substantial experience with major public infrastructure projects and various forms of construction contracts to provide advice on a wide variety of public works construction projects. The Firm gives special attention to contract delivery methods and project administration to help avoid conflicts which result in costly delays, overruns, and litigation.
8. Insurance and Risk Management. CCC regularly reviews local government insurance needs and works with insurance agents and underwriters to secure needed policies and coverage. CCC helps clients develop risk management and liability avoidance programs, claims defense if necessary; and works effectively with insurance counsel and independent litigation counsel in defending claims.
9. Litigation. CCC emphasizes a philosophy of claims prevention. Where litigation is inevitable or strategically preferable, CCC postures a case to the client’s advantage at every opportunity, using all resources available to ensure a successful outcome at reasonable cost. CCC litigates issues of law related to governmental powers, authorities, and water law; and coordinates with special litigation counsel on complex trial cases.
10. Real Property Acquisitions. CCC regularly assists local government clients with the acquisition and conveyance of real properly, through a variety of property interests. CCC prepares and reviews purchase contracts, deeds, easements, licenses, leases and other real properly documents. The Firm’s attorneys work with land planners, appraisers, title examiners, environmental and building inspection firms, and surveyors to ensure thorough evaluation of complex acquisitions. When a negotiated acquisition of property is not possible, CCC will undertake or assist with eminent domain proceedings.
11. Legislation and Lobbying. CCC continually drafts local government policies, rules, regulations, resolutions, ordinances, and State or Federal legislation. CCC’s attorneys appear before legislative and administrative bodies to support or oppose legislative or regulatory proposals. CCC’s attorneys serve with various levels of local, state, and federal public officials and administrators through appointments to a variety of commissions, task forces and organizations; thus providing valuable relationships.