LMAD Funding, Assessments & Prop 218
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.
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, please feel free to contact the Public Works Department at 714-961-7170. Please note:
- The City-wide 49 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.
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 subsidized 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 a Proposition 218 ballot measure process was and is evoked.
PROPOSITION 218 ballotinG PROCESS
Several Local Landscape Zones have undergone such Proposition 218 balloting processes to allow parcel owners to decide if they wanted to increase their annual assessment or have the areas of landscaping in their neighborhood reduced in order to eliminate having maintenance costs exceed the revenue generated by the annual assessment.
When a specific Local Landscape Zone is working in a deficit scenario or trending to do so in the next fiscal year (per the Engineer’s Report (PDF), a Prop 218 ballot measure may be warranted. In general, through this voting process, the property owners of the identified deficient Local Landscape Zones are provided a ballot to vote on either of the following or a variation thereof:
- Yes = To increase their assessment in their zone and retain the existing maintenance service levels; or
- No = To keep their same assessments and reduce the maintenance service levels.
In general, with a Local Landscape Zone No-vote against increasing their assessments, the City will then reduce the amount of landscape maintenance areas it maintains in that Local Landscape Zone and vacate (relinquish) certain City landscape maintenance easements. In which case, the underlying property owner is thereafter responsible for the landscape maintenance in such areas. Information on the prioritization of maintenance areas are explained in the “Guidelines for Deficit Zones" (PDF)
Property owners that receive a Special Benefit (reside within a Local Landscape Zone), as determined by the current Engineer’s Annual Report, may petition the City Council for modifications to the LMAD. In general, this includes, but is not limited to, requests to add additional services, conduct one-time capital improvements, and add additional area to receive service. For example, should residents wish to explore avenues to increase their Local Landscape Zone assessment so that the LMAD provides a higher maintenance level, residents in the specific Local Landscape Zone can then petition the City Council to allow for a Proposition 218 vote to increase the maximum amount of the assessment for the zone. This falls under the request for a modification process.
Modifications to LMAD Zones
Any resident requesting such modifications to their Local Landscape Zone will need to refer to the Guidelines for Property Owner Requested Modification (PDF) in the LMAD. 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 Local Landscape Zone will need to discuss with City staff before proceeding. Please contact the Public Works Department at (714) 961-7170.