Voters support MAD for La Jolla: City Council ratifies count, Nov. 15

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The proposed Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) for the Village of La Jolla was approved by those within the district by mail ballot and ratified Tuesday, Nov. 15 by the San Diego City Council.

With the approval, assessments will be collected from residents and businesses within the MAD on property tax bills starting in December 2017. Increased maintenance will begin in 2018. The funds will also be used for the implementation of capital projects. The MAD will be managed by Enhance La Jolla, a non-profit supported by La Jolla Community Foundation. 

Enhance La Jolla consultant Joe LaCava explained that the City sent out about 1,300 weighted ballots and received about 600 back, but actual numbers were still being finalized as of the Light’s press deadline. The ballot posed two questions: whether voters wanted a MAD and whether they wanted it to be locally run or managed by the City. 

Of the ballots returned, the MAD was approved by 56 percent, and local control was approved by 85 percent. “This is a good day and we feel we got some very good news,” LaCava said. 

Mark Dibella, head of the Enhance La Jolla steering committee, said, “I could not be happier for the future of the Village of La Jolla and the community’s decision to support a much-needed MAD. This is a catalyst to creating a Village that will own up to its potential for locals and visitors alike.”

Enhance La Jolla supporter Nancy Warwick added, “This is truly the most exciting program that has happened in the Village of La Jolla in my lifetime. There was nothing that could really improve things without this kind of community funding and support. There will be a resurgence of pride in La Jolla as a Village, and overtime it will be a much more enjoyable place for the residents.” 

Dibella explained that the vote culminates 18 months of hard work. “The MAD provided a great opportunity to pull together community organizations, residents and everyone with a vested interest in the future of The Village. I’m now extremely happy to see that the overwhelming support got it to fruition.” 

From here, the Enhance La Jolla board (comprised of residential and commercial property owners, representatives from the Community Foundation and others) will likely also collect donations for capital projects and plan for services to be rendered once maintenance fees are available in 2018. 

“In 2017, we will get the best contracts and put together the best plan to make the Village even more beautiful and well maintained,” Dibella said. 

According to the Enhance La Jolla website, all meetings focusing on the expenditure of property owner assessments will be open to the public for comments on the agenda. Services provided will be based on projections of cost, funds received through the MAD, and property owner needs.

La Jolla’s MAD could include capital projects such as new and upgraded trash cans, benches, enhanced signage, traffic calming projects, park improvements, La Jolla Rec Center improvements, tree canopies and public art. Ongoing maintenance projects could include landscaping, street and sidewalk cleaning, litter and graffiti abatement, and additional trash collection. 

Leading up the ballot distribution, representatives from Enhance La Jolla presented their plans to La Jolla’s various community advisory groups, garnering almost unanimous approval. 

At the City Council meeting, Council President and La Jolla resident Sherri Lightner thanked the Enhance La Jolla committee and “the many other community members who put time and effort into the formation of the MAD.”

“This was not an easy process and it was not quick,” Lightner said. “The committee engaged in considerable outreach, but I firmly believe the formation of a MAD should be a community-driven process. Enhance La Jolla has exceeded my expectations (in how) they worked carefully with community advisory groups. I’m pleased to see the community has voted for the MAD formation. They will see increased services that will contribute to a cleaner, safer, more attractive environment.” More at enhancelajolla.org

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