In this post, CivicMic will outline the procedures assessment engineers take to create a lighting and landscape maintenance district ("District") engineer's report, as well as some of the information that will be included in the FY 2023-24 engineer's report.
If you are a property owner in one of Fairfield's Landscape and Lighting Maintenance Districts ("LLMDs"), you may wonder what is involved in preparing an engineer's report. The LLMD Engineer's Report is a document prepared by a professional engineer which quantifies the special and general benefits and costs associated with the proposed district. Every year the city is required to submit an annual update to this report, which contains detailed information on the district's finances, infrastructure, and ongoing maintenance or improvement projects for the upcoming fiscal year.
Note that NBS assessment engineers are looking ahead to the future and planning for FY23-24, which begins on July 1, 2023, and not the FY22-23 report
LLMD Engineer's Report Procedures
1. IMPROVEMENT PLAN
The first step in writing a landscape and lighting maintenance district engineer’s report is developing a proposed improvement plan. This should include a description of the work that needs to be done and an estimate of the cost.
The improvement plan will be based on a comprehensive analysis of the district's existing conditions and input from the community and city staff.
Once the improvement plan for the district is finalized, the engineers must determine what benefits these services provide. It is important to note that a public improvement or service provides a benefit. For example, street lighting is an improvement, not a special benefit. However, street lighting provides an "improved safety" benefit to properties nearby as well as non-residents driving through the district.
Check out the table below as an example of how this may be shown in the engineer's report.
3. SPECIAL AND GENERAL BENEFIT
Once the Benefits are determined, it is time for the engineers to quantify and allocate what "special benefits" the property owners within the district receive, as well as what general benefits these services bring to the public at large. This can include a description of the benefits that will be gained. In the street lighting example mentioned in the previous step, the safety benefit provided to properties nearby is a special benefit, but the safety provided to pass-through drivers is a general benefit.
While special and general benefits are distinct in concept, it is more of an art than a science in practice. That is why the City of Fairfield has contracted with NBS, which has decades of hands-on experience with special assessments and special taxes, to create the report.
See the Charts below for examples of how assessment engineers determine special and general benefits.
After a long process of compiling data and evaluating options, it's time to present the proportional assessment rate schedule for the landscaping and lighting maintenance district per parcel.
The engineers use a number of factors to determine the assessment, which is based on each property's unique characteristics. These can include the property land use, its size, frontage, location, and so on.
After completing all the steps above, the assessment engineers will submit a draft District Engineer's Report to the city and community for review and comment no later than January 31, 2023.
We hope this guide has given you a better understanding of the LLMD engineer’s report procedures for your district. NBS's assessment engineers take great care in creating engineer's reports, and we appreciate the community’s patience as we take steps to ensure that, if passed, the district is funded adequately to continue maintaining the community’s desired service for years to come.
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