Financial Status of Phillips Ranch

The Financial Status of Phillips Ranch LLMD

CivicMic is working with the City of Pomona (the “City”) to facilitate community outreach and public engagement opportunities for the Phillips Ranch community. In this post, CivicMic provides an overview of the financial status of Phillips Ranch Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance Assessment District (“Phillips Ranch LLMD”) (the “District”).

Financial Status of Phillips Ranch LLMD

The City has been aware of a severe budget deficit for the Phillips Ranch LLMD for several years, which is the result of increasing expenses that have significantly exceeded revenues. The District’s budget provides for landscape maintenance and lighting services managed by the City and paid for by an assessment that Phillips Ranch property owners pay annually. This annual assessment has remained at a fixed level since 1993, which has left the City unable to match the ever-increasing costs of providing landscaping and lighting maintenance services.

In 2008, an assessment increase was proposed through the Proposition 218 process. This allowed property owners to vote on whether their assessment would be increased to ensure that the District generated enough revenue to sustain its services. However, that ballot measure was voted down. In 2019, the City once again went through the Proposition 218 process to increase the assessment. If approved, this would have increased the assessment by $17 per month and included annual CPI increases that would have been capped at 5%. The 2019 initiative also failed.

The City is now faced with the complete depletion of the reserves and a $410,000 deficit in this fund. To mitigate this situation, the City is preparing for another Proposition 218 ballot measure to increase the assessment. It is anticipated that a new opportunity to cast a ballot will be held Spring of 2023. In the meantime, the City is forced to consider a drastic reduction and/or total elimination of many services, including tree maintenance, landscape maintenance, and watering.

For the current Fiscal Year, the District’s budget for tree maintenance is $110,000, of which $81,000 remains. This is proposed to be eliminated for the remainder of the Fiscal Year. For landscape maintenance, the District’s budget is $407,732. By January 1, 2023, there will be approximately $203,000 remaining in this budget. This is proposed to be reduced to $89,000 to allow for some basic maintenance of the green belt area along Village Loop Road. Lastly, there is $385,112 budgeted for water for the Fiscal Year. It is proposed that all but $30,000 be eliminated from the remaining budget so that only the most essential watering needs will be funded through the remainder of the Fiscal Year.

These budget cuts will mitigate the existing deficit that the District is facing, while the Proposition 218 ballot measure offers a long-term solution if approved by Phillips Ranch property owners. City staff will continue monitoring the budget through the remainder of the Fiscal Year to identify other potential savings opportunities.

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