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San Dieguito school district approves special taxes for 2015-16

The San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) voted 4-1 on July 16 for a levy of special taxes within seven Community Facilities Districts (CFDs), with trustee Mo Muir voting against it.

As Eric Dill, associate superintendent of business services, explained, developers must pay fees to mitigate the impact of development. They can elect to pay development fees up front or elect to annex into CFDs, which is where Mello Roos fees come in.

“The impact of development is placed on the parcel of land and paid over time. It is a special tax,” Dill said.

The district has seven CFDs and each has a maximum annual tax. Developers must disclose to homeowners that they will be subject to Mello Roos fees before they purchase a home.

“Every single one of the 9,008 property owners who reside in CFDs legally agreed to pay the special tax,” said District Superintendent Rick Schmitt.

The 2015-16 prepayment amounts in four of the Community Facilities Districts range from $4,955 to $9,799 for a single-family home and $1,350 to $2,669 for a multi-family home.

In CFD 99-2 and 99-3 (which include the Encinitas and Rancho Santa Fe School Districts), there will be a one-time special tax of $1.17 per square foot of assessable space for residential homes and 26 cents per square foot of assessable space for commercial buildings.

In CFD 03-1, there will be a $11,560 special tax for a tax class A single family home, $3,123 for a tax class A multi-family home, $9,747 for a tax class B single family home and $2,632 for a tax class B multi-family home.

As Schmitt said, the vote on adopting resolutions levying special taxes within the Community Facilities Districts has been unanimously approved by the San Dieguito board and feeder elementary boards for years.

At its July 22 meeting, neighboring Del Mar Union School District approved the special tax levy for 2015-16 for its CFDs, $1.6 million in total, to repay the bonds issued by the school district to build Ocean Air and Torrey Hills schools.

According to Dill, a “no” vote by the entire board on the 2015-16 version of these resolutions would go against the property owners in the district who agreed to pay those taxes upon taking title to the property. All of those properties would face liens and foreclosures because the bond holders would have the right to foreclose on those properties in order to pay on those bonds, and liens would effectively shut down all future development within the CFDs.

The single “no” vote will have an impact on the district’s bond rating, Schmitt said.

“Most troubling, with the 4-1 vote on July 16: the ‘no’ vote will cause our bond rating to drop, costing our taxpayers millions in added interest,” Schmitt said. “Local developers, bond rating agencies, underwriters and the San Diego County Assessors Office have already taken notice of the ‘no’ vote.”


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