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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Measure W: Civic Center Community Facilities District Tax Approved by Landowners

• Proposal for Levy  Receives Votes Needed to Move Forward

BY BILL KOENEKER

The Malibu City Council, at its meeting next week, is scheduled to adopt a resolution certifying the results of the November 20, 2012 special tax and bond election for the Community Facilities District for the Malibu Civic Center Wastewater Treatment Plant Design Phase One—Measure W.
The voting concluded on Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 5 p.m., whereupon the city clerk’s office counted the ballots. Malibu City Clerk Lisa Pope announced that the measure passed.
Next Monday, the council will vote on what will be known as Ordinance 371, authorizing the levy of a special tax within the CFD and direct staff to schedule a second reading and adoption of Ordinance 371 for the Dec. 10 city council meeting.
Several months ago, the council, on a 4-1 vote with Councilmember Skylar Peak dissenting, approved forming a community facilities district to levy special taxes on 15 properties that are within the CFD boundary for the Civic Center wastewater treatment plant design phase for the purpose “to issue bonded indebtedness.”
The city council’s apparent intention was to form a CFD in order to levy special taxes within the district utilizing bonds to pay for $6.5 million worth of design work for the wastewater plant.
At that time, Pope said she had received no protests and except for one public speaker no one came to council chambers to protest.
Peak did not explain his dissenting vote and when it was his turn to speak would only say, “no comment.”
Apparently to set the record straight, City Attorney Christi Hogin spoke first before council comments.
“How did we get here? We do not believe the Civic Center is polluting the ocean. We brought new science to the water board which chose to believe in the old science and issued the [discharge] prohibition,” she said.
“This has nothing to do with growth inducing. How much can be built is governed by the General Plan and the Local Coastal Program.”
The city attorney said this is a way to test the old science versus the new science. “We think the wastewater plant won’t have any effect on water quality. If we are proven wrong, why wouldn’t we go to phase two and three? We are not going to ask people to pull out expensive onsite systems,” Hogin added.
Then Councilmember Lou La Monte said it was time for the Civic Center property owners to begin to pay the design bills rather than the city. “The city paid its fair share,” he said.
Councilmember John Sibert said, “We are trying to keep property values stable. We are doing this in such a way we can show doing all of this doesn’t make a difference in the ocean. We avoid using our money upfront,” Sibert said.
Councilmember Joan House said, “It is important the city not invest its own money in this. This is not growth inducing.”
Then Mayor Laura Rosenthal said she supported the actions. “Not any of us wanted this. It is the law. I appreciate people keeping to the facts.”
Thorsen was asked when the city would get its money back and he said the $1 million invested by the city for design work already performed would come back when the bonds are sold.
The resolution sets forth the rate and method of apportionment of the special tax for the district and the special tax to finance the plant design and the incidental expenses.
The maximum special tax for each assessor’s parcel of non-residential property will be $19,707.33 per acre and for each assessor’s parcel of residential property shall be $3941.47 per acre, according to the public notice. Beginning with fiscal year 2012-2013 and for each following fiscal year, the special tax will be levied in equal percentages on each assessor’s parcel, up to the applicable maximum special tax, the document states.
The maximum special tax shall not be levied after fiscal year 2052-2053. 
Each landowner within the CFD was entitled to cast one vote for each acre of land or portion owned within the community facilities district.
For a proposition to be adopted, two-thirds of the votes cast at the election must favor passage, according to city officials.
The tax could be levied by Dec. 10. The bond sale can occur in January, according to municipal officials.
Feldman said the CFD would not attempt to collect the tax payments until after a benefits assessment district could be formed.
Neither city, nor county, land can be included in a CFD, according to state law.

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