Friday, April 20, 2007

Increasing property tax revenue and budget surpluses

Interesting story in todays Union Tribune about the city of Encinitas bogarting our tax money. Remember all the scare tactics over the budget former city manager Kerry Miller played with us? I say it's time for the city to REDUCE some fees.

Proposed budget includes big-ticket items

By Angela Lau
STAFF WRITER

April 20, 2007

ENCINITAS – Thanks to increasing property tax
revenue and budget surpluses
, Encinitas will have more than enough money to build priority facilities, boost its reserves to an unprecedented level and go high tech, a proposed budget for the coming fiscal year shows.

It will even spare property owners the threat of fee increases in two controversial programs – pollution control, and street lighting and landscaping.

The city will use general funds to subsidize those.

In doing so, city officials are acknowledging the harsh lessons learned in 2005 and last year when voters rejected a $3-to $5-per-year increase in the Lighting and Landscape District's assessment and a $5-a-month pollution control fee.

Not only did voters say no, but critics repeatedly accused the city of nickel-and-diming property owners.

read the rest of the story here.


I don't know if am ready to swallow this as something other than spin (because they tried to raise our taxes!) and the city has played shell games with money before that makes not a subsidy of those projects, and instead some of it is going the other way...

I might be giving the city some applause because many people have suggested this years ago, although the city is only halfway there. Member of the Encinitas Taxpayers Assoc wanted them to actually REDUCE some of our fees. Flush Encinitas should cut, not raise taxes.

The Encinitas City Council repeatedly proclaims that it has done a wonderful job with the city's budget. The city has plenty of money, enough to absorb citywide pay and pension raises and increases in staffing. If things are so great, why does the council proceed so frantically when it comes to obtaining more taxes?

Consider the recent clean-water tax. It was illegally enacted. Then the city spent money to defend it in court even though the obvious outcome would be a legal defeat. The city sent ballots to city landowners in the hope that we would elect to send the city more money for its streetlight assessment. The city manager sent residents an accompanying letter filled with confusing and scary propaganda that the city would cut services if revenue did not increase.

Fortunately, residents voted against increased taxes.

Unfortunately, the council has wasted tens of thousands of dollars on it is failed efforts to raise our taxes. If we trust the city's rosy predictions, the city's income should be increasing in the next few years. Instead of increasing the size of government, let's give tax money back to the residents. Let's use those future revenue increases to eliminate the lighting assessment that the council was trying to
increase.

Hopefully, the city is now shifting away from nickel and dime mode. I would also like to note that the amount of property tax collected from Leucadia must be an absolute windfall. I'm looking forward to seeing that money invested back into Leucadia.

See also:

Leucadia!: Financial Flimflam

Leucadia!: More Dirty Tricks, a must read

16 comments:

  1. Too bad Guenin is gone or she could spend some of OUR dough on her warm and fuzzy projects. If we dont stop Aceti (and we will), he would spend all of the surplus and still want to tax and fee us.

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  2. This validates everything we've said since day one. I feel irked.

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  3. The real test of the city's intentions will be whether it tries to float lease revenue bonds to finance the Hall property park development. This all seems to have a wink and a nod behind it. And what about the three new fire stations? The last lease revenue bonds were supposed to be for the library, fire stations, and the Hall property park. The money seems to be all going to the library. It also looks like the new Public Works yard is going over earlier estimated costs.

    The total cost, including interest, of the Hall property bonds is $45 million. The total cost of the library bonds is $38 million. That's $83 million in all. How about paying some of this debt off early? We could save many millions of dollars if we retired some of this debt early.

    I'm suspicious. Our city has a bad record of handling money. Mostly the same personalities are still running the show.

    Have you noticed that the $11,000 dollar tree in the Santa Fe roundabout seems to be having trouble leafing out? Is it still alive? I hope so. Maybe it's this odd Spring weather we are having, and we will see a beautiful leafy tree in several months.

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  4. Holy Moly!! Under the proposed capital improvement program is an additional $1.5 million for development and master planning for the Public Works yard. The proposal lists $300,000 to $400,000 per year for the next four years. That's in addition to the already appropriated $500,000 and the purchase price of the Mossy site.

    I thought this was a turnkey facility. Dan Dalager has betrayed us big time. The whole U-T piece sounds like it was engineered by the usual suspects at the city. These clowns are not to be trusted.

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  5. Good timing on this article with Steve Taxceti moving to Leucadia. This proves his prop C baby was all smoke and mirrors.

    HOWEVER,

    keep an eye on your water bill. That is how they will get us!!!

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  6. Put the money in the coastal capital projects like improving Moonlight and the N. Coast HW101 Streetscape. The coast is why we all live here and people visit enciinitas. Keep the priorities straight.

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  7. The city will be holding the first Budget Workshop next week on Tuesday, April 24 at 4:00 pm at City Hall. This is the time for all of us to make our opinions heard.

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  8. I want our voice to be heard but all of us in the real world are still at work when this thing is going on.

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  9. JP,

    you did see that money come to Leucadia. It was called the leucadia flooding fiasco.

    Perfect timing for the rain!

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  10. Yes, we needed the rain.

    That proposed lighting and landscaping assessment to be put on our property tax bills was for a minimum of five dollars per year. The U.T. article is dead wrong. Some business properties would have seen increases up to, amd more than tens of thousands of dollars. In fact, because the vote was "weighted" according to how much one would have to pay, that vote lost. Most of the single vote households, with only five dollar increase (those with NO lighting or landscaping, voted YES on the fee.

    This is nickel and diming. Also, the City substantially raised remodel fees. The increases should have been for those who buy and/or build more than one home in any one year in the City of Encinitas.

    The pension raises and benefit packages for government workers that is far "sweeter" than private workers is almost making a "class" society again. Those who work directly for the Government, or who are receiving Government contracts vs everybody else, except multi-national corporate "players."

    Let's hope Aceti is a flash in the pan, that burns off the political landscape, here, very quickly. We cannot trust that man after the way he has acted on this blog, particularly.

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  11. I hope the City council puts more attention on the Coast. For one, ban smoking. It a joke we will be the ashtray of San Diego County. Those are not the type of butts I like seeing on the beach. What is council thinking?

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  12. Hey JP,

    Shouldn't your Leucadia banner lose the tree or make it a stump? At least make it a stump until the planting ceremony.

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  13. More spin, deception by CityApril 21, 2007 12:25 PM

    The only reason that, on the books, this City's budget looks in good shape is because of the lease revenue bond debt that we have been saddled with, without a public vote. There is NO stream of revenue from the library, and that should have not qualified as a lease revenue bond.

    Also, property taxes have gone up so fast because of the enormous purchase price of homes, now. Homes that were purchased, before, are being charged a 2% increase in property taxes, compounded yearly, not including higher water and sewer assessment fees.

    I am at a complete loss to understand the new costs associated with the Mossy property, public works yard. It does seem that Dan Dalager lied to us when he said that project was "turnkey," which is supposed to mean "ready to go," just turn the key, and move in.

    This is a puff piece in the Union Tribune with incorrect facts, I agree, about the proposed increase in the Water and Landscaping assessment taxes.

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  14. Speaking of water bills mine is up 20 bucks from the last one. I think it is a one time charge for the new meters but I'll believe it when my next bill is back down to the former price.

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  15. I was aghast to read the final paragraphs of Angela Lau's article. In them she describes the first phase of the development of the 44-acre Hall property park, saying that the park would "include a dog park and grassy areas." Has she read the park's draft EIR which says most of the park would be something else? She is abetting certain coucil members in their attempt to violate CEQA law and fool the public into thinking "dog park and grassy areas." She didn't even use the word "field."

    California environmental law requires that a project be considered in its totality. Building the park in phases doesn't absolve the city of its responsibility of obeying the law. The whole article by Lau does seem to be a puff piece possibly promoted by three council members, aka Sleepy, Dopey, and Grumpy.

    The city is calling the park a "Special Use Park." By the city's own definition, "Special Use Parks are those which are developed for a specific type of use, rather than a broader range of multiple park and open space uses. The Lake Drive Sports Complex is an example of this type of park, which is developed specifically for field athletics."

    Angela Lau needs to write another article which is factually correct. Will the Union-Tribune allows her to do it? Probably not. The paper endorsed Sleepy, Dopey, and Grumpy in their reelection campaigns.

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  16. The UT is way tied to the development brigade and so tied to Jerome and Dalager and maybe Bond.

    Example: http://www.sdreader.com/php/cityshow.php?id=1594

    Published on April 5, 2007
    U-T and Police Lie About Aguirre
    By Don Bauder

    Last week, members of the mainstream media believed they were covering a story about a search warrant issued by the city attorney's office and approved by a judge but blocked by the police chief. The chief has broken the law, but I will get into that in paragraphs below. The real story is that this incident was a smokescreen in the biggest land grab in San Diego history.

    Developers -- with the covert assistance of city government -- are attempting to seize Montgomery Field for housing tracts. It's a stealth campaign that dates back at least four years, with the likes of Sol Price, Malin Burnham, the chamber of commerce, and former city manager, now developer Jack McGrory pushing for it. James Waring, the City's land czar, has mentioned in at least two meetings that he has such intentions, and in one of those meetings he said that he, as a developer, "lusted after" the Montgomery land.

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