Why have assessments not been increased over the years to keep up with rising costs?

At one time, County and City government agencies had the authority to increase assessments as needed to keep up with expenses by a vote of their respective governing boards.  This changed in 1996 when voters approved Proposition 218 which, among other things, changed the law to require that any new assessments or increases for existing assessments be approved by property owners through a mail-in ballot process. This voting process costs money and is time consuming for both the City and property owners. The City held off taking this route for more than 10 years, but has reached a point where the General Fund can no longer sustain the level of subsidy.

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1. How and why were Landscape Assessment District Nos. 39 and 41 formed?
2. How are assessments collected?
3. Why are assessments not considered taxes?
4. What type of maintenance work is funded by the assessments?
5. How do I know that my assessment is only being used for maintenance within my district and not for any other purpose?
6. Why are property owners in District Nos. 39 and 41 being asked to vote?
7. How much is the proposed assessment increase and how will it be determined?
8. Why have assessments not been increased over the years to keep up with rising costs?
9. Why don’t my property taxes pay for this work?
10. There are other landscaped areas within the city where property owners do not pay an assessment. Why is that?
11. Why is it that some properties belong to both a Homeowner’s Association and an assessment district?
12. Who gets to vote in this ballot proceeding and how will votes be tabulated?
13. When will the ballots be mailed?
14. What happens if this assessment increase is not approved?
15. Can this assessment be increased in future years?
16. Are there exemptions or discounts for seniors or low income?