In this post, CivicMic provides an overview of what occurs if the proposed Phillips Ranch assessment increase is not approved by property owners. CivicMic works with the City of Pomona (the “City”) to facilitate community outreach and public engagement opportunities for the Phillips Ranch community.
Phillips Ranch is a unique community, with 203 acres of open space and slopes and a high concentration of the City’s trees that distinguish its neighborhoods with natural beauty and help protect local property values.
Challenges Facing Phillips Ranch
As covered in previous posts, the City provides landscape maintenance and lighting services to the Phillips Ranch community with funds collected through the Phillips Ranch Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance Assessment District (“Phillips Ranch LLMD”) (the “District”). The current assessment paid by property owners has been in place since 1980 and has not changed since the 1990s, while the costs of services have increased significantly. As a result, the City has been forced to continually reduce services that impact the environment and safety of Phillips Ranch.
The Proposed Phillips Ranch Assessment Increase Would Provide Dedicated Funding to Improve Safety, Landscaping, and Street Lighting
At the recommendation of a Citizens Committee, the City is proposing a new assessment for the Phillips Ranch LLMD. If approved by the property owners, the new assessment would replace the current assessment and improve the landscape maintenance and lighting services provided to the 80-acre area while maintaining the unique nature and character of the Phillips Ranch community. The approval of the Phillips Ranch assessment increase would also provide sufficient funding to reduce the risk of wildfire by removing overgrowth of public landscaping, remove brush from areas used as homeless encampments, preserve natural areas, and increase water conservation in public areas of the Phillips Ranch community.
The approval of the Phillips Ranch assessment increase by property owners will provide approximately $1.7 million per year of dedicated funding specifically for Phillips Ranch neighborhoods, at a cost to homeowners of less than $43 per month. Separate rates would apply to commercial properties.
What Occurs If the Phillips Ranch Assessment Increase is Not Approved?
Without approval of the Phillips Ranch assessment increase, the existing district will be forced to make permanent reductions and eliminations of services for the Phillips Ranch community in the following areas:
- Tree maintenance to prevent fallen trees: Phillips Ranch has 12,000 trees, representing 1/3 of all trees in the City, more than 300 of which are dead, diseased, or dying.
- Fire safety improvements to remove overgrowth from public landscaping and reduce wildfire risk, Los Angeles County Fire recommends 750’ of brush clearance setbacks around homes, and currently there are no funds for this work.
- Removal of brush from areas used as homeless encampments.
- Maintenance of hillsides to prevent mudslides.
- Preservation of the greenbelt for walking and exercise.
- Preservation of natural areas and open space.
- Street light maintenance.
- Repairs and upgrades needed on 30+-year-old irrigation systems for more efficient watering mechanisms.
- The installation of drip irrigation, automated sprinklers, and leak detection systems.
- Rodent and pest control, and the maintenance of pet waste stations.
Public Disclosure of All Spending
All funding provided by the Phillips Ranch assessment increase would be overseen by an independent Citizens Oversight Committee of Phillips Ranch residents with public disclosure of all spending and annual independent audits required. 100% of the funds would be used locally for the benefit of the Phillips Ranch community.