LMAD Funding & Assessments
Many of the landscaping, street lighting, and traffic signal districts are funded and maintained in part through assessments collected by the Yorba Linda Street Lighting and Landscaping Maintenance District (commonly known as the “LMAD” or “District”). The assessment amount levied on a particular parcel of property is based on the proportional special benefit conferred on that property.
Requirements & Methodology for assessment increase
In 1996, Proposition 218 was approved by California voters. This proposition precludes the City from unilaterally increasing assessments in order to increase revenue to cover the increasing costs of maintaining a LMAD zone, unless such increases are approved by a vote of the property owners within the LMAD zone. On July 1, 1997, a City-wide ballot proceeding was conducted where 83% of the responding property owners approved the continuation of the City’s LMAD District created under the 1972 Act. In addition, the voters approved a cost escalation clause so that the maximum annual assessment could rise by the same percentage as the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) for the Los Angeles/Orange County region.
For nearly 20 years (1997 to 2015), no assessments were increased (beyond the Consumer Price Index) in the LMAD. However, costs for maintenance related items, such as utilities and contract labor, escalated significantly over that period of time, so the costs for some neighborhoods began running consistently over budget, and over the amount of LMAD assessment funds collected, by the District. For many years, this shortfall was backfilled with City “General Fund” dollars. However, funding from the City's General Fund budget was counter to the purpose of the District, which was to be self-supporting based upon the assessments collected in each particular zone of the District.
Therefore, on March 3, 2015, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 2015-5296 (PDF). This Resolution established the City Council’s goal to eliminate the use of City general funds to subsidize LMAD zones that were in a funding deficit. To eliminate the funding deficit, property owners were provided the choice, through a Proposition 218 ballot measure, to either:
- Increase their assessment in their zone and retain the existing maintenance service levels; or
- Keep their same assessments and reduce the maintenance service levels.
recent PROPOSITION 218 Mail ballot
Recently, several of the Local Landscape Zones underwent such Proposition 218 mail ballot processes to allow parcel owners to decide if they wanted to increase their annual assessment or have the acres of landscaping in their neighborhood reduced in order to eliminate having maintenance costs exceed the revenue generated by the annual assessment. In zones where there was insufficient maintenance funding for the extent of the landscape areas, and residents voted against increasing their LMAD assessments, the City reduced the amount of landscape maintenance areas it maintained and vacated certain City-owned landscape easements. In which case, the underlying property owner is thereafter responsible for the landscape maintenance in such areas.
Should residents wish to explore avenues to increase landscape maintenance funding so that the LMAD maintains a greater area or at a higher maintenance level, residents in the LMAD zone can petition the City Council to allow for a Proposition 218 vote to increase the maximum amount of the assessment for the zone. At least 50% of property owners in the zone must petition the City, along with other criteria as may be required by the City Council. A resident interested in a potential Proposition 218 vote for their zone should discuss with City staff before proceeding to obtain information about the process. More information is available in the current Engineer’s Report (PDF). Information on deficit zones are explained in the “Guidelines for Deficit Zones (PDF).”
Your LMAD Assessment
When your property tax statement is issued by the County of Orange, you will see an assessment shown as “LNDSCP & LTG #1”. This is a compilation of the assessments that benefit your parcel. Alternatively, to determine the LMAD Landscape Assessment that you pay annually:
- Contact the Public Works Department at 714-961-7170; or
- View your estimated Property Tax Assessment (PDF) by parcel number for FY 2018/19. Please note:
- The City-wide 48 landscape and lighting assessment estimates are as of October 2018, but may be subject to some adjustments by the County of Orange before posting to the December 2018 property tax bills.
- The assessment rates are subject to change every fiscal year with the adoption of the annual Engineer's Report.