In this post, CivicMic introduces the Oxnard Top 5 things to know about your Landscape Maintenance District. The City of Oxnard has 38 of them and they all have these five things in common. The Districts fall under a category of property taxation commonly known as special assessments used by municipalities to fund the ongoing maintenance of public improvements such as landscaping, trees, lighting, parks and other facilities.
If your property is in one, the secured property tax bill will contain an additional charge for it. The charge represents additional benefits received by the property from the maintenance of specific public improvements. This concept is known as receiving special benefit. Learn the Oxnard Top 5 things to know about your Landscape Maintenance Districts so that you can participate in the annual approval process and ensure your property is receiving special benefit.
- Oxnard Top 1 – What are the geographical boundaries of the District? Generally, the Districts are formed during the initial development of the property by the developer. The assessment is disclosed in one of the many papers signed when purchasing the property at the close of escrow. As such, the geographical boundaries of Landscape Maintenance Districts generally follow the same boundaries as the phases of development of a community. But not always. A map, known as the assessment diagram, can be found in the latest annual assessment engineer’s report which can be obtained from the Public Works Department (or sometimes the Finance Department). (We have made this easy for you: Please read to the bottom of the post to find out how you can get the top 5 from CivicMic). It is important to know what properties are included in your District to better understand the top number 2.
- Oxnard Top 2 – What are the public improvements being maintained with the additional funds? Typically the specific improvements are agreed upon between the public agency and the developer as part of the conditions of approval for the development. However, improvements can be added or removed over time as reflected in the latest annual assessment engineer’s report. Most reports contain a verbal description but in most cases the maintenance crews have maps indicating the type and exact location of the improvements. Knowing the exact location is extremely important because improvements being maintained with the additional funds are many times located next to improvements that are funded from other sources. The contrast in maintenance can be significant so you must know the exact location of the improvements in relation to others to better understand the top number 3.
- Oxnard Top 3 – What is the maintenance level of service provided based on the available funds? Many public agencies have a detailed description of maintenance tasks along with frequency (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly) and an assigned grade letter representing the level of maintenance. These are extremely useful in bidding out the maintenance work to private contractors for pricing at different levels and for property owners paying the assessment to monitor the service level received. In our experience, most communities prefer to receive an A or B level of service based on a standard A to F grading curve. If you are not receiving an A or B level of service, then it is important to know the top number 4.
- Oxnard Top 4 – What is the maximum assessment amount allowed vs. the amount being charged? Odds are that if you are receiving a level of service of C or below, the District is being charged at the maximum amount but the maintenance costs, including utilities (water in particular), have exceeded the available funds. This type of situation requires the property owners in the District to work out a plan with the public agency that may result in increasing the assessments, replacing the improvements with low maintenance/low water consumption improvements, or removing the improvements. Working out a plan will require you to know the top number 5.
- Oxnard Top 5 – Does the assessment amount have an annual inflator? Districts formed in recent years should have an approved formula that allows the public agency to increase the assessment amount annually based on a publicly-available cost of living index. An annual inflator is indispensable given the rising cost of water, other utilities, labor and materials. No District can maintain a high level of service without it. Generally Districts formed before 1996 do not have a cost of living index inflator. Having an inflator may allow for the replacement or removal of certain high maintenance improvements thus allowing the existing District to financially recover without having to increase the assessment through the formation of a new replacement higher-rate District.
CivicMic has made finding the Oxnard Top 5 easy! Visit the Oxnard Data Center to get the Oxnard Top 5 from the scrolling District Fact Sheets and Maps of Improvements and Boundaries!
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