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  County Treasurers and
Public Trustees

PUBLIC TRUSTEE

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38-37-100.5. Definitions.

The definitions in section 38-38-100.3 apply to this article unless the context otherwise requires.

38-37-101. Creation of the office of public trustee.

There is hereby created the office of public trustee in each county in this state, whose duties are as prescribed by law. In all counties of the second class, such public trustee shall be appointed as provided in section 38-37-102, and, in counties of all other classes, the county treasurer of the county shall be such public trustee; except that, in the city and county of Denver and the city and county of Broomfield, the public trustee shall be such equivalent officer as shall be provided by its charter or code.

38-37-102. Appointment - bond - office.

 (1) (a) Prior to July 1, 2020, the governor shall appoint a public trustee in and for each of the counties of the second class. All appointments of public trustees by the governor in and for counties of the second class on or after February 1, 1991, shall be for terms of four years; except that the term of a public trustee in and for any county of the second class appointed on or after January 1, 2019, shall be for a term that terminates on June 30, 2020.  If the office of public trustee in and for any county of the second class should become vacant prior to July 1, 2020, the governor shall appoint a successor to complete the term. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the governor may appoint the treasurer of a county in which a vacancy occurs as a successor to complete the term of a public trustee appointed by the governor.  When appointing a person other than a county treasurer, the governor shall appoint only those persons who have at least a four-year college degree and five years' administrative or business experience or, in the alternative, ten years' administrative or business experience. Any person so appointed public trustee shall serve at the pleasure of the governor.  Every person other than a county treasurer appointed as public trustee in counties of the second class shall, before entering upon the duties of such office, execute a surety bond issued by a company authorized to issue such bonds in the state of Colorado, in the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars, conditioned that the person so appointed as public trustee will well and faithfully execute the duties of such office; and such public trustee shall promptly account for and pay over to such persons as are entitled thereto all money and other valuables that come into such person's hands as public trustee.

(b) In November of 2021, each county of the second class shall provide a copy of the most recent report prepared pursuant to section 38-37-104 (3) to the Department of Local Affairs.  The Department of Local Affairs shall compile the reports of the counties and present them to the House Transportation and Local Government Committee and the Senate Local Government Committee, or their successor committees, by January 1, 2022.

(2) (a) Prior to July 1, 2020, the county treasurer shall be the public trustee in each of the counties of the third class.  On and after July 1, 2020, the county treasurer shall be the public trustee in each of the counties of the second and third class.  Prior to commencing service as a public trustee in July 2020, each treasurer in a county of the second class shall create a written transition plan for assuming the new duties of the office.  The transition plan must describe the anticipated staffing needs and budget impacts on the office and specify how the office will address those needs and impacts.  In creating the transition plan, the treasurer may consider any pertinent studies or reports on the conduct of the public trustee’s office in order to better understand the scope and detail of the work.  In creating the transition plan, the treasurer may also consult with the current public trustee and the public trustee’s staff on issues related to the trustee’s functions and how to best transition the powers and duties of the trustee to the treasurer’s office.  The treasurer shall post the transition plan on the county’s website not less than sixty days prior to assuming the duties of the public trustee.  Upon commencing service as a public trustee in July 2020, each treasurer of a county of the second class shall consider any staffing needs associated with assuming the duties of public trustee and may consider hiring existing staff from the previous appointed public trustee’s office, including the prior public trustee, to the extent it is practicable and the treasurer finds it necessary to augment staff in the treasurer’s office to meet the obligations of serving as public trustee.  The county treasurer of a county of the second class shall confer with the board of county commissioners as part of the annual budget development process by the county on any additional staffing needs that are required to accommodate any additional public trustee functions performed by the office of the treasurer.

(b) In counties wherein the county treasurer is the public trustee, as provided in this subsection (2), such person shall conduct the duties of public trustee at the office of the county treasurer; and, in counties wherein the county treasurer is not the public trustee, the public trustee shall maintain an office and regular place of business for the performance of the public trustee's official duties.  In all cases, the office of the public trustee shall be kept open for the transaction of business during county business hours each day, except Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.

(3) The board of county commissioners shall furnish, at the expense of the county, all office supplies, including books, forms, and stationery necessary for the use of the public trustee in carrying out the provisions of this section and sections 38-37-101 and 38-37-104, subject to the provisions of section 38-37-104 (3).

(4) In lieu of the bond required by subsections (1) and (2) of this section, a county may purchase crime insurance coverage on behalf of the public trustee to protect the people of the county from any malfeasance on the part of the public trustee and his or her employees.

 38-37-103. Deputy trustee - successor in office.

Each public trustee may appoint deputies who shall have the same power in all respects as the public trustee. All acts of a deputy public trustee shall have the same effect as though performed by the public trustee. If a public trustee dies, resigns, or is removed from office, or if a public trustee's term of office expires after selling any property under the term of a deed of trust and before executing a certificate of redemption or deed for the property, the public trustee's successor in office shall execute the certificate or deed in the same manner that the public trustee making such sale might have done.

 38-37-104. Duties of public trustees - fees, expenses, and salaries - reports.

 (1) The public trustees of each county of this state shall perform the functions and exercise the powers conferred upon them by statute. They shall be entitled to receive as fees for such services the following sums and no other fees or perquisites:

(a) For executing a release of a deed of trust, the sum of fifteen dollars;

(b) For performing a foreclosure under article 38 of this title, the following sums, which shall be cumulative:

(I) For opening and administering a foreclosure under the powers conferred upon them by a deed of trust pursuant to section 38-38-101 where the original principal amount of the debt secured by such deed of trust does not exceed four hundred eighty thousand dollars, a fee of one hundred fifty dollars and, where such amount exceeds four hundred eighty thousand dollars, a fee of one thirty-second of one percent of such original principal amount or the outstanding principal balance, whichever is less, but in no case less than one hundred fifty dollars;

(II) For accepting the filing of a notice of intent to redeem pursuant to section 38-38-302, the sum of fifty dollars per notice;

(III) For processing and executing a certificate of redemption pursuant to section 38-38-402, the sum of thirty dollars;

(IV) For executing a confirmation deed pursuant to section 38-38-501, the sum of thirty dollars;

(V) For processing withdrawals pursuant to section 38-38-109 (3) (a), the sum of thirty-five dollars;

(VI) For processing an administrative withdrawal pursuant to section 38-38-109 (3) (b), the sum of fifty dollars;

(VII) For recommencing the foreclosure after reinstatement where a sale was held in violation of the automatic stay provisions of the federal bankruptcy code of 1978, title 11 of the United States Code, as amended, pursuant to section 38-38-109 (2) (c) (II), the sum of fifty dollars;

(VIII) For recommencing the foreclosure after bankruptcy where publication was not completed pursuant to section 38-38-109 (2) (b) (I), the sum of seventy-five dollars;

(IX) For performing the actions described in section 38-38-101 (9), the sum of one hundred dollars;

(X) The sum of all amounts paid by the public trustee to third parties in connection with processing a foreclosure, including all recording, filing, publication, and electronic transmission fees; except that, for conducting a public foreclosure sale by means of the internet or another electronic medium pursuant to section 38-38-110 (1), the public trustee may collect no more than sixty dollars;         

(XI) For processing a rescission of sale pursuant to section 38-38-113, the sum of one hundred dollars; and

(XII) For rescheduling a sale after a rescission of sale pursuant to section 38-38-113 (4), the additional sum of fifty dollars.

(c) For performing any duty of the public trustee pursuant to section 38-30-171 (3) (b), 38-30-173 (3) (b), or 38-34-104, the sum of twenty-five dollars or such greater amount as may be approved by a court of competent jurisdiction; and

(d) For performing duties pursuant to section 38-35-126 (1), an additional annual fee of seventy-five dollars, payable in advance, for each taxable year, or portion thereof, during which an escrow account is established.

 (2) (a) The salary of the public trustee in the different counties of the state shall be fixed at the following amounts, to wit: In counties of the second class, twenty-six thousand dollars per annum for full-time public trustees and, in counties of the third class, six thousand five hundred dollars per annum.

(b) For public trustees whose terms begin on or after July 1, 1998, but prior to January 1, 2003, the salary of the public trustee in the different counties of the state shall be fixed at the following amounts, to wit: In counties of the second class, thirty-two thousand dollars per annum for full-time public trustees and, in counties of the third class, eight thousand dollars per annum; except that, in the city and county of Broomfield, such salary shall be as set forth in its annual budget.

(b.3) (I) For public trustees whose terms begin on or after January 1, 2003, except as otherwise provided in subparagraphs (II), (III), or (IV) of this paragraph (b.3), the salary of the public trustee in the different counties of the state shall be fixed at the following amounts, to wit: In counties of the second class, forty-eight thousand five hundred dollars per annum, and in counties of the third class, twelve thousand five hundred dollars per annum.

(II) For public trustees who are serving in office on or after the effective date of this paragraph (b.3), as amended, the salary of the public trustee in the different counties of the state shall be fixed at the following amounts, to wit: in counties of the second class, fifty-six thousand five hundred dollars per annum; and in counties of the third class, twelve thousand five hundred dollars per annum.

(III) For public trustees in counties of the second class who are serving in office on or after February 1, 2009, the salary shall be fixed at sixty-four thousand five hundred dollars per annum.

(IV) For public trustees in counties of the second class who are serving in office on or after February 1, 2010, the salary shall be fixed at seventy-two thousand five hundred dollars per annum.

(V) For public trustees in counties of the second class wherein the county treasurer serves as the public trustee, the salary shall be fixed at twelve thousand five hundred dollars per annum.

(b.5) (a) Prior to July 1, 2020, public trustees in counties of the second class appointed by the governor may collect benefits in addition to their salary that do not exceed benefits received by other elected county officers within their county.

(b) This subsection (2) (b.5) is repealed, effective July 1, 2020.

(c) Such salaries shall be paid from the fees collected by the public trustee as provided in this section and not otherwise.

 (3) The public trustee of each county shall quarterly make and file with the board of county commissioners of the county a full and complete statement under oath of all transactions of the office of the public trustee and shall, upon the approval of said report, pay to the county treasurer all sums that the public trustee has received as fees in excess of the amount of salary then due to the public trustee and in excess of all necessary and reasonable expenses for staff wages and any benefits provided pursuant to county personnel policy and other expenses incidental to the conduct of the office of the public trustee for the quarter ending at the time of such report, which moneys shall, by the county treasurer, be placed to the credit of a fund to be known as the public trustee salary fund. The public trustee shall, before remitting such excess funds, retain such excess funds in a special reserve fund, which fund shall be maintained in a separate interest-bearing account as permitted under section 38-37-113, until such special reserve fund, including accrued interest, reaches an amount equal to the public trustee's total operating expenses and authorized salary for the previous fiscal year, as filed pursuant to this subsection (3). If, in any particular quarter, the public trustee's operating expenses and authorized salary exceed the fees collected in the quarter, the public trustee may draw on the special reserve fund to cover the public trustee's operating expenses and authorized salary for that quarter. At such time as the special reserve fund has reached the permitted amount, excess funds shall be paid to the county treasurer to be placed in the public trustee salary fund. At the expiration of each year, the county treasurer shall, out of any moneys in the public trustee salary fund and not otherwise, pay to the public trustee such an amount, if any, as may be still due to the public trustee on account of the public trustee's salary for that year just expired, such payment to be made only upon the certificate of the board stating the amount of such salary still remaining due and unpaid, and the balance of said fund shall thereupon be transferred to the general fund of the county.
(4) Deleted 1/1/2008

(5) (a) Any person other than a county treasurer serving as a public trustee who has been appointed by the governor shall report to the governor at such times and on such matters as the governor may require.

(b) This subsection (5) is repealed, effective July 1, 2020.

(6) The public trustee of each county shall adopt a budget pursuant to the requirements of part 1 of article 1 of title 29, C.R.S., and shall submit the budget to the board of county commissioners of the county in which he or she serves for review by the board.

(7) The office of the public trustee is subject to annual audit pursuant to the "Colorado Local Government Audit Law", part 6 of article 1of title 29,C.R.S.; except that the office of the public trustee of any trustee who is appointed by the governor shall instead be subject to an individual annual audit pursuant to section 29-1-603 (1.5), C.R.S.

(8) Each public trustee who is appointed by the governor shall be subject to the state "Procurement Code", articles 101 to 112 of title 24, C.R.S., for any purchase of twenty thousand dollars or more and for any multiple year purchase agreement; except that, if the procurement rules established for the county in which the public trustee serves require an open and competitive bidding process, the public trustee may apply the county procurement rules.

38-37-105. Classification of counties for purposes of regulating fees and salaries of public trustees.

 (1) For the purpose of providing for and regulating the fees and salaries of public trustees, the said several counties of this state are classified with reference to population and divided into three classes, as follows:

(a) Class 1: City and county of Denver;

(b) Class 2: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, Mesa, Pueblo, and Weld;

(c) Class 3: Alamosa, Archuleta, Baca, Bent, city and county of Broomfield, Chaffee, Cheyenne, Clear Creek, Conejos, Costilla, Crowley, Custer, Delta, Dolores, Eagle, Elbert, Fremont, Garfield, Gilpin, Grand, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Huerfano, Jackson, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Lake, La Plata, Las Animas, Lincoln, Logan, Mineral, Moffat, Montezuma, Montrose, Morgan, Otero, Ouray, Park, Phillips, Pitkin, Prowers, Rio Blanco, Rio Grande, Routt, Saguache, San Juan, San Miguel, Sedgwick, Summit, Teller, Washington, and Yuma.

38-37-106. Public trustee to act as successor in trust - additional duties.

 (1) It is the duty of all public trustees of the several counties of the state of Colorado to accept and discharge the duties of trustee or successor trustee in accordance with the provisions of section 38-34-104 and to accept and discharge those duties of the public trustee prescribed by sections 38-30-171 (3) (b) and 38-30-173 (3) (b).

(2) Whenever any deed of trust names the wrong public trustee or omits the name of the county of the public trustee in a deed of trust containing a grant to a public trustee and a provision for a power of sale, the public trustee of each county where the property or any portion thereof is located shall act as a successor public trustee or as if the public trustee and county were named in the deed of trust. A public trustee so acting shall have all powers, authority, and duties as if originally named in such deed of trust with respect to the portion of the property located in such county.

38-37-107. Fees under successor trusteeship.

Said public trustees, for the performance of services in section 38-37-106, shall be allowed to charge and receive only such fees as are allowed by law for the performance of like services under deeds of trust wherein such public trustees are named as trustees.

38-37-108. Payments to public trustee.

(1) All moneys payable to a public trustee at any foreclosure sale under the provisions of this article or upon redemption or cure pursuant to article 38 of this title shall be in the form of cash, electronic transfer to an account of the public trustee available for such purpose and in compliance with the conditions placed on the account by the public trustee for such electronic transfer, or certified check, cashier's check, teller's check, or draft denominated as an official check that is a teller's check or a cashier's check as those terms are defined in and governed by the "Uniform Commercial Code", title 4, C.R.S., made payable to the public trustee, and certified or issued by a state-chartered bank, savings and loan association, or credit union licensed to do business in the state of Colorado or a federally chartered bank, savings bank, or credit union.

(2) As used in this section, “electronic transfer” means a transfer of funds initiated by using an electronic terminal, telephonic instrument, or computer or magnetic tape to order or authorize a financial institution to credit or debit an account.  “Electronic transfer” payments do not include transactions originated by check, draft, or similar paper instrument.

38-37-109. Suits against public trustee.

When public trustees, or county treasurers acting as trustees, are sued in their official capacity, the district attorney shall provide legal representation for the public trustees serving in such district attorney's district, unless such legal representation is provided for otherwise.

38-37-110. Public trustee forfeits fees for failure to meet statutory time requirements - validity of foreclosure unaffected.

If the public trustee fails to meet the time requirements set forth in section 38-38-102 (1), 38-38-103 (1), or 38-38-501, the foreclosure sale and confirmation deed shall be valid notwithstanding such failure, and the public trustee shall forfeit five percent of the public trustee's fees provided for in section 38-37-104 (1) (b) (I) and (1) (b) (V) for each day the public trustee fails to meet the time requirements, and, if the fees have already been paid, the forfeited portion thereof shall be returned immediately to the person who paid them.

38-37-111. Public trustees authorized to cooperate and contract with one another and others.

One or more of the public trustees of the several counties of the state are hereby authorized and empowered to cooperate and contract with any other public trustee and with others for the purpose of providing any function, service, or facility, including legal services and representation, that are necessary and desirable to fulfill their lawful duties.

38-37-112. Powers of public trustees when counties are formed or when county boundaries change.

The public trustee of each county is declared to be the proper public trustee to issue public trustee's deeds, certificates of purchase, certificates of redemption, releases of deeds of trust, and all other documents required of a public trustee for all property located in that public trustee's county at the time of execution of such documents by the public trustee or at the time the deed of trust was recorded in that county. All such documents may be recorded in either county. Each public trustee is also authorized to make sales and perform all acts required of a public trustee in connection with property located in that public trustee's county at the time of performance of such acts by the public trustee or at the time the deed of trust was recorded in that county. All acts that have been performed and all documents that have been executed by any public trustee in compliance with this section are validated.

38-37-113. Checking account - custodial funds.

 (1) In the performance of his or her duties under this article and article 38 of this title, the public trustee of each county shall have the authority to establish and manage one or more of the following accounts: An automated clearing house account, checking account, escrow account, custodial account, similar banking services, or similar overnight depository account with a bank or savings and loan association that is an eligible public depository under the "Public Deposit Protection Act", article 10.5 of title 11, C.R.S., or the "Savings and Loan Association Public Deposit Protection Act", article 47 of title 11, C.R.S. A public trustee may also participate in local government investment pool trust funds as described in part 7 of article 75 of title 24, C.R.S., and invest public funds in eligible money market mutual funds described in part 6 of article 75 of title 24, C.R.S.

 (2) Other than fees and costs, which shall be governed by section 38-37-104, all moneys received by a public trustee for the purposes of a cure, a bid, excess proceeds, or a redemption under article 38 of this title shall be held as custodial funds for the party entitled to receive such moneys. Any moneys that a holder of an evidence of debt is entitled to receive may be transmitted electronically to the attorney for the holder in the manner set forth in a memorandum of understanding between the attorney for the holder and the public trustee. All electronic transmission fees and costs between the office of the public trustee and the attorney for the holder shall be an additional fee and cost of the foreclosure.

 (3) Nothing in this section shall lessen or otherwise modify the immunities and protections extended by law to public trustees and any governmental entity with which public trustees are associated. No contractual relationship shall be deemed to exist between a public trustee and a party entitled to receive moneys as described under subsection (2) of this section.

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