Assessment Districts

Introduction

Assessment Districts are a means of financing certain public infrastructure, and have existed in California since the early 1900s. Their establishment is authorized by The Improvement Act of 1911 and The Municipal Improvement Act of 1913.
Property owners within assessment districts are assessed as part of their annual property taxes collected at the County level to finance a wide variety of maintenance services and improvements.

Landscape Assessment Districts

There are three Landscape Assessment Districts in Diamond Bar, designated as Districts No. 38, 39 and 41, which were created by Los Angeles County in the mid-1980s upon the request of developers to pay for the maintenance and upkeep of certain landscape and recreation features.
When Diamond Bar incorporated in 1989, it inherited the responsibility of administering the maintenance contracts within the three established Districts.

Financial Challenge

Two districts (No. 39 and No. 41) are in separate neighborhoods and involve relatively intensive work.  The annual budgets for these districts have grown over the past decades, but the assessment levels have not.  This has led to an annual deficit in the budgets for these two districts, which is subsidized by the City’s General Fund – a situation that cannot go on indefinitely.  In just the past five years alone, this subsidy has amounted to nearly $750,000. These districts were originally structured to be self-supporting when the County/City had the ability to increase rates to keep pace with rising costs, however, a 1996 law (Proposition 218) changed things so that property owners must now vote on any increases. As a result, assessment levels were frozen and the City’s General Fund has had to subsidize these landscaping districts – an obligation that wasn’t anticipated.

Proposal to Increase Assessments

The City is initiating a process to increase the annual assessment for properties within these two districts.  That process involves a mail-in ballot proceeding and culminates in a public hearing in front of the City Council.  City staff is holding a series of neighborhood meetings to provide information to property owners who will be asked to vote on these increases.  Since the issues in the two districts are somewhat different, we are holding two separate sets of meetings focusing on each separate district.

Community Meetings

District No.  41 District No. 39
Monday, May 13, 2019
​6:30 - 7:30 p.m., and again 7:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
​6:30 - 7:30 p.m., and again 7:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Heritage Community Center, 2900 S. Brea Canyon Road Diamond Bar Center, 1600 Grand Avenue

Additional Steps

In addition, the City Council will take action on the proposed assessments on May 21, 2019 in the City Council Chambers. Ballots will likely be mailed soon afterward and be due back by the formal public hearing scheduled for July 16, 2019.

City staff is busy finalizing budget projections and assessment rates in order to present them at the neighborhood meetings. We look forward to meeting with you and exchanging ideas on this financial challenge that will affect the neighborhoods in which you live.

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