(b), par. [248] The new procedural requirements became legally operative on July 1, 2014. (2). La proposition 218 a modifié la Constitution de Californie par l'ajout de l'Article XIII C et de l'Article XIII D[6]. [9] Prior to Proposition 218, an agency was not required to obtain ballot approval from affected property owners before levying assessments on real property. City Attorney, Auburn & Calabasas . Majority vote general taxes "shall be consolidated with a regularly scheduled general election for members of the governing body of the local government, except in cases of emergency declared by a unanimous vote of the governing body.". (4). Proposition 218 issues arise when a local agency seeks to finance lifeline utility rate programs by increasing utility fees and charges on other ratepayers without voter approval. [77] The California Supreme Court construed the election consolidation requirement to not apply when a general tax is proposed by the voters exercising the local initiative power.[78]. [218], The agency must conduct at least one public hearing upon the proposed property-related fee or charge not less than 45 days after mailing the notice of the proposed property-related fee or charge to the record owner(s) of each identified parcel upon which the property-related fee or charge is proposed for imposition.[219]. XIII C, § 2, subd. SGMA (Groundwater) Westside San Joaquin River Watershed Coalition; USBR Program to Meet Standards; Water Management Plan; Data. Const., art. Const., art. Local politicians end up having to reduce public services and/or raise taxes or other revenues such as fees and charges. Historically, publicly owned parcels were exempt from paying assessments on real property. In addition, if the governing body members of a regional governmental agency are not directly elected, the recall power is also not available to remove those members from the regional governing body. XIII D, § 3, subd. California courts have generally been lenient in allowing local governments to spend public funds in connection with activities (such as conducting opinion polling) before a tax proposal is placed on the ballot. Cal. The specific constitutional language applicable to the local initiative power under Proposition 218 provides: SEC. Electronic data files containing information relating to the calculation and/or amount of a proposed assessment for each parcel within an assessment district may also be available. This is especially the case for presidential general elections where voters tend to be more inclined to support taxes. (a), par. [146] Some of the more common property-related fees or charges levied by local agencies include utility fees for ongoing domestic water, sanitary sewer, refuse collection services, stormwater fees, and flood control fees. Cal. Prop 218/ Prop 26 McNeill Law 2019-07-03T11:20:28-08:00. History; Board of Directors; Agendas & Minutes; Newsletters & Notices; Staff; Rates; PID Map; PID Directors Divisions Map; Standard Plans; 2019 Prop 218 Rate Study; 2019 PID Prop 218 FAQ; Marshall Road Pump Station Project; Employment; Regulatory. As a result, it is important for interested voters to find out about the applicable deadlines for filing ballot arguments shortly following the decision by a local government to place a tax measure on the ballot. In some instances, it may be necessary to make written requests under the California Public Records Act. [7] This can be done as an alternative to, or concurrent with, any legal remedy for noncompliance with any applicable election requirement under Proposition 218. While not receiving the same level of media attention as special assessments on real property, controversial property-related fees and charges became a significant problem following the passage of Proposition 13, as many local governments labeled taxes as "fees" or "charges" and imposed them without voter approval. This is because there is no provision for directly electing members of the governing body. Ballot Pamphlet, California General Election (November 5, 1996), analysis of Proposition 218 by Legislative Analyst, p. 74. 4th 1351 (June 2002) unanimously held that a stormwater drainage fee imposed on developed parcels of land was a "property-related" fee subject to Proposition 218, including the voter approval requirement thereunder.[149]. [151] Property-related fees or charges existing when Proposition 218 became effective must be in compliance by July 1, 1997. [76] With regard to previously approved "modernization" measures, voters may have unknowingly authorized the imposition of taxes on online video streaming services. 218. If a majority protest exists under Proposition 218, the agency is constitutionally prohibited from imposing the proposed assessment. City Attorney, Berkeley . XIII D, § 5, subd. Prop 218 requires voter approval prior to imposition or increase of general taxes, assessments, and certain user fees. BY ALLISON LEVITSKY Daily Post Staff Writer A woman is waging a class-action lawsuit against the city of Palo Alto, claiming that residents and businesses have been hit with illegal . [208] Technically, if an existing assessment is not imposed exclusively for an enumerated traditional purpose, it does not qualify for the exemption. For some assessments, other laws (e.g., a state statute or a local law such as an ordinance or a local charter provision) may also legally require a property owner petition to initiate the assessment process, but a property owner petition is not required under Proposition 218. The California Constitution mandates that the "protection of the public safety is the first responsibility of local government and local officials have an obligation to give priority to the provision of adequate public safety services. [128] This includes detailed data by lobbyist employers such as local governments. It is generally preferable to obtain the performance data in electronic format to facilitate further study and analysis. Prior to Proposition 218, sustained majority protests for assessments were rare events. Ventura’s Measure O sales tax was one such example. [232], The fourth requirement is intended to add a temporal component to the property-related fee or charge restrictions. Senate Floor Analysis SB 231, April 21, 2017, p. 4. As an example, the local initiative power under Proposition 218 could be used to reduce electrical service fees and charges in situations where a local public agency such as a city transfers substantial utility fee or charge revenues to the general fund of the local public agency, whether done as legally allowable "profit" or as reimbursement for questionable services rendered to the utility by the local public agency. [235] Under Proposition 218, a standby charge, regardless of whether characterized as a property-related charge or an assessment, is classified as an assessment and may not be levied by a local agency without compliance with the more restrictive procedures and requirements applicable to assessments.[232]. [209] The California Supreme Court has ruled that property owner elections for property-related fees and charges are not subject to the voting secrecy provision[187] in the California Constitution. In two leading cases in 1982, the California Supreme Court, headed by controversial Chief Justice Rose Bird, formulated and applied a special rule of interpretation applicable only to Proposition 13 that strictly construed the circumstances in which local governments must get two-thirds voter approval to approve local tax increases. Cal. (c). Const., art. (d). For example, if a city's general fund is used to pay for some water utility overhead costs, a transfer of revenue to the general fund is legally permitted. XIII D, § 2, subd. [2], Proposition 218 amended the California Constitution by adding Article XIII C and Article XIII D.[5] Article XIII C added constitutional voter approval requirements for all local government taxes which previously did not exist. 51% of the voters must approve it. [6] Also included is a provision significantly expanding the constitutional local initiative power by voters to reduce or repeal any local government tax, assessment, fee or charge, subject to a significantly reduced signature requirement making ballot qualification easier. [280] Under the State Administrative Manual, all state agencies are required to determine that, with respect to state properties for which an assessment is levied by a local government, the applicable assessment district was properly constituted pursuant to law and that the requisite special benefit is present. Const., art. [59] However, groundwater fees imposed upon parcels of property may still be subject to the requirements of Proposition 218. State law (Proposition 218) establishes a process to impose or increase certain types of City rates/fees. [111] California courts have generally been lenient in allowing local governments to engage in informational campaigns in connection with local tax measures. Any tax imposed for specific purposes and placed in a general fund. [114] The statement requirement applies regardless of whether the tax measure is proposed by the local governing body or is submitted to the local voters as an initiative or referendum measure.[115]. This includes a detailed supporting basis for compliance with the substantive requirements for assessments such as presence of special benefits, proper apportionment of special benefits between parcels, separability of general benefits from special benefits, proper assessment of parcels owned by public agencies, detailed cost information, and the manner of calculating assessments upon specific parcels. Prop 218 gave special status to water, waste water, and refuse utilities. The local initiative power under Proposition 218 has been used before to repeal a local groundwater fee. (e). An assessment district consisting of residential parcels paying lower assessments and a significant number of larger parcels paying higher assessments, such as large publicly owned or commercial parcels, can sometimes result in an assessment being approved under weighted voting even though a majority of the residential property owners opposed the assessment. (3). Senate Floor Analysis of SB 231, April 21, 2017. (e), par. XIII C, § 1, subd. Const., art. [18] Special assessments on real property became a vehicle of choice for local politicians looking to avoid making hard decisions regarding general fund expenditures. [134] Article XIII D relates primarily to special assessments on real property and property-related fees and charges. Proposition 218 does not prohibit local agencies from using existing taxpayer funds to pay for lifeline utility rate programs much in the same manner that taxpayer funds are used to finance social and other government programs for those in need. [70] However, the courts have final say in interpreting when a property-related fee or charge is "increased" under Proposition 218. Cal. "[204] This represented a watershed change in judicial interpretation compared to the historical interpretation of constitutional taxpayer protections in California, especially under Proposition 13, that generally resulted in a narrow construction of constitutional taxpayer protections to limit their scope, application, and impact.[52][205]. Cal. (2). A property-related fee or charge is "increased" for purposes of Proposition 218 when an agency makes a decision that does any of the following: (1) increases any applicable rate used to calculate the property-related fee or charge; or (2) revises the methodology by which the property-related fee or charge is calculated, if that revision results in an increased amount being levied on any person or parcel of property. XIII D, § 5, subd. In holding that this argument is inconsistent with Proposition 218, the court stated that "[i]t would open up a loophole in article XIII D, section 6, subdivision (b)(3) [part of Proposition 218] so large it would virtually repeal it. [195] The underlying legal basis for the historical deferential standard of review was that the establishment of an assessment district takes place as a result of a peculiarly legislative process. (d) [special taxes requiring two-thirds voter approval]. The constitutional status of the substantive assessment requirements under Proposition 218 altered the standard of review analysis. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has published various "taxpayer tools" to assist taxpayers in situations such as when a controversial general tax measure is placed on the ballot by a local government.[84]. (a). [131], This article is about California Proposition 218 and its various provisions. [132] In reaching the preceding conclusion about consumption based utility charges, the court relied on the "user fee or charge for a property-related service" component of the constitutional definition. Under Proposition 218, only special benefits are assessable. "[247], The City of Salinas subsequently petitioned the appellate court to rehear the Salinas case, but that petition was denied. XIII D, § 5, subd. "[120] This constitutional obligation exists regardless of whether a local tax measure is approved by voters. The ballot must remain sealed until the ballot tabulation starts. Const., art. 4th 1493 (April 2015) unanimously construed Proposition 218 as prohibiting local governments from charging higher water rates on heavier water users (tiered or conservation water rates) without complying with the cost of service requirement[162] under the measure. Cal. [7] An example of where such a local initiative may be appropriate involves election issues or controversies associated with a property owner election, particularly where the local government adopted controversial election procedures. Under this highly deferential standard of review, the courts presumed that an assessment was valid and the person challenging the assessment had to show that the record before the local agency clearly did not support the underlying determinations of special benefit and proportionality. Section 1 of Article XIII C contains definitions applicable to the article. Const., art. [230], The second requirement is that revenues derived from the property-related fee or charge must not be used for any purpose other than that for which the property-related fee or charge was imposed.[231]. [209], A property-related fee or charge election must be conducted not less than 45 days after the required public hearing. [224] This means that if a tenant is directly liable to pay a property-related fee or charge, that tenant is also regarded as a "property owner" for purposes of the procedures and requirements applicable to property-related fees and charges, including entitlement to notice and the right to protest. Cal. [127] Only electronically reported, state-level campaign data are generally provided. Code, § 53755.5, subd. [286], The actions by local governments to limit the scope and application of Proposition 218 are not limited to the courts. [255] Thus, the California Attorney General reached the same conclusions concerning stormwater drainage fees under Proposition 218 as the appellate court did in the Salinas case which was decided some four years later. While a state agency imposing a levy at the state level is not a "special district," such an agency may be a "local or regional governmental entity" under the broad definition of a "local government,"[53] and thereby be subject to Proposition 218 if the levy is imposed within limited geographic boundaries as opposed to being imposed on a statewide basis. Section 1 definitions include the term "local government" setting forth the public entities subject to the article. 81 Ops. John D. Bakker . In 2017, the California Supreme Court held that a fee imposed upon persons on the extraction of groundwater was generally not a property-related fee. Const., art. The assessment procedures and requirements are designed to ensure that any special assessment levied by an agency is a legitimate special assessment. Ballot Pamphlet, California General Election (November 5, 1996), argument in favor of Proposition 218, p. 76. [34] The initiative would immediately have a devastating effect on local government finance. However, these issues have been addressed by statutes adopted by the California Legislature. The California Cannabis Coalition decision did not disapprove or otherwise disturb the 1987 Altadena Library District appellate court decision. [55] The general versus special tax distinction existed in California prior to Proposition 218, but Proposition 218 contains a broader definition of "special tax" as also including taxes imposed for specific purposes that are placed into a general fund. However, the tax approval does not become effective unless and until approved by the voters.[117]. The fourth exemption is for any assessment which previously received majority voter approval from the voters voting in an election on the issue of the assessment. This restriction would result in lower payments by individuals and businesses to local government--and less spending for local public services. The procedures for a new or increased property-related fee or charge help ensure that a property owner receives appropriate written notice and is given an opportunity to provide input prior to the local agency deciding whether to approve a proposed property-related fee or charge. Local governments also sometimes refer to a general tax as a "vital services" tax in order to make the tax more politically attractive to voters. [130] Such lobbying using public funds can also be done indirectly through associations such as the League of California Cities, the California State Association of Counties, and the Association of the California Water Agencies. "[225], The Capistrano decision also rejected the argument that higher water tier prices that exceed the cost of service may be justified as "penalties" not within the purview of Proposition 218 restrictions. 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