Consolidation of maintenance districts could mean big savings
The Porterville Parks and Leisure Services Commission on Thursday will meet to discuss consolidating three of the city’s landscape and lighting maintenance districts into one.
A landscape and lighting maintenance district is a system by which property owners in a particular development vote to assess themselves to pay for services beyond what the city normally provides. Costs associated with a landscape and lighting maintenance district include landscape and tree maintenance service contracts, pest control, water, irrigation repair, graffiti removal and overhead administrative costs.
The three districts that are part of Thursday’s discussion are located at Westwood Estates in Porterville.
Donnie Moore, director of the Porterville Parks and Leisure Services Department, said that by consolidating the three districts, the annual assessment in each lot will significantly decrease.
The current assessment for Westwood Estates District One is about $120, Westwood Estates Unit 4 Phase 5’s assessment is around $140, and Westwood Estates Unit 5, Phase 2’s assessment is about $216. By consolidating the three, the annual fee will decrease to roughly $99 per year for each, Moore said, adding that the move will also save the city in administrative costs.
“It’s a win-win for the people,” Moore said.
According to Moore, all of the city’s landscape and lighting maintenance districts need to reviewed.
“Some of these annual assessment fees haven’t really been consistent...in some cases what we’ve been putting out into the districts may not have been equating to the amount of care,” he said. “We need to take a look at all of these different districts to increase our standard of care.”
He said that over the course of the next year, the commission may look into consolidating the remaining districts.
“We’re kind of wanting to consolidate as many as we can; it’s easier on everyone,” Moore said.
Like any other tax, a proposed assessment is subject to the provisions set out in Proposition 218, also known as the state’s Right to Vote on Taxes Initiative. The law requires the city to have a vote of affected property owners for any proposed new or increased taxes, fees, or assessments before they are implemented.
Moore said the last attempt at consolidation took place in December of 2009. It was proposed to form a new lighting-only district which essentially would have consolidated the city’s 26 lighting districts. The proposal didn’t pass.
- the commission will discuss the unpaved parking lot area at the Porterville Sports Complex. Moore said that in the past, there was a concern brought up by commissioner Shannon Bennet, former president of Porterville Youth Football, about cars kicking up dust as they drove toward the football field.
The unpaved parking lot accommodates 632 cars, nearly twice as many cars as the paved parking lot.
“There have been mitigation efforts such as watering the dirt to keep the dust down but in really hot temperatures, water doesn’t help,” Moore said.
The commission will discuss these and a number of other matters at its regular meeting, set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, in the council chamber at City Hall, 291 N. Main St.