Why haven’t our assessments been increased over the years to keep up with rising costs?

Up until 1996 the City had the authority to increase assessments as needed to keep up with expenses by a vote of the City Council.  But in 1996 voters approved Proposition 218 which, among other things, changed the law to require that any increases in assessments be approved by property owners through a mail-in ballot process. The mail-in ballot process is time-consuming for both the City and property owners and comes with its own costs, so the City held off asking residents to approve an increase.   The point has been reached now where the City can no longer justify or afford the amount of the subsidy.

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1. What are landscape assessment districts?
2. Where is District 41 located?
3. Why are property owners being asked to vote?
4. Why haven’t our assessments been increased over the years to keep up with rising costs?
5. What work does the City perform in our neighborhood?
6. How much is the new assessment?
7. How was the new assessment determined?
8. If this assessment is approved, could it be increased in future years?
9. How do we know that the assessment funds will be spent properly?
10. What happens if this assessment increase is not approved?
11. Who gets to vote on this measure and how are votes tabulated?
12. How do I complete my ballot?
13. How can I return my ballot?
14. How will ballots be tabulated?
15. How can I replace a lost or damaged ballot?
16. What if ballot information is incorrect?
17. May I withdraw my ballot after it is submitted?
18. May I change my vote after my ballot has been submitted?
19. Why in some cases are there fees for both a Homeowners Association and the assessment districts?
20. Why don’t my property taxes pay for this work?
21. There are other areas in the City with nice landscaping and property owners don’t pay an assessment to the City. Why is that?
22. Are there exemptions or discounts for seniors or low income?