CivicMic works with the City of Fairfield (the “City”) to facilitate community outreach and public engagement opportunities for the City’s Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance Districts (“LLMDs”). In Fairfield, many of the LLMDs have reached their maximum assessment rates and either are or will be experiencing a budget shortfall if no action is taken by the City and stakeholders. To mitigate the consequences of this shortfall, such as reduced services, these LLMDs will be going through the 218 process to increase their maximum assessment rate to support landscaping services. In this post CivicMic shares why the LLMDs must go through a 218 process and form a new district to increase their maximum assessment rate.
Maximum Assessment Rate
The maximum assessment rate is the maximum rate that property owners may be charged annually to pay for services performed by their LLMD. This rate was established in the initial Engineer’s Report for each district. Often the Engineer’s Report will contain an inflator and the rate may be increased every year at that percentage until it reaches the maximum assessment.
Why Does a New District Have to Be Formed?
In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 218 “Right to Vote on Taxes Act”. This impacted the assessment process by making it necessary for local governments to conduct a vote approval process amongst stakeholders for any new assessment before it could be levied. Since an LLMD cannot charge property owners beyond what has been determined to be the maximum assessment rate in the initial Engineer’s Report, a new district must be voted on and formed with a new assessment rate maximum for there to be a rate increase within the LLMD. Services may or may not be changed at all for the district, but a new assessment rate may be established. If a new district is not formed, then the LLMD may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to fund ongoing services.
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