MAD could pave the way for city, county grants

GUEST COMMENTARY / OPINION:

During the June meeting of the San Diego Community Planners Committee, CPC Chair David Moty led a discussion on Maintenance Assessment Districts (MADs). He noted that the formation of the Talmadge MAD led not only to success in attaining grants and securing private funds, but also to the enablement of a premise whereby the City of San Diego was more likely to engage in infrastructure projects, as the MAD gave the city the security to know that the project would have proper stewardship within the Village.

In a MAD, such as the one currently proposed for the Village of La Jolla, property owners within the district pay for and receive benefits of services above and beyond what the city provides. The Steering Committee and board of Enhance La Jolla, the team managing the formation of MAD, are currently appointed, but the board of the formed MAD will be run by an elected Board of Directors and subcommittee volunteers under Bylaws and subject to the Brown Act of Public Notice. Community input is essential to the MAD now and in the future.

If you are the owner of property located within the MAD boundary, an assessment will appear on your parcel’s property tax bill. The MAD will be funded by the tax assessments as well as city and county grants. The experience of MADs throughout the city and county is that it is much easier to successfully attain those grants, as there is a board-managed framework to manage projects through to completion with efficacy and on budget. There is an increased willingness among grantors to allocate funds, due to that framework. This is a premise that the Village of La Jolla has never been able to benefit from until now.

The funds collected in the MAD boundary are required to be spent in La Jolla under guidelines developed with input from the community. Capital projects can be managed via donor-directed funds, and early community ideas include improvements to the entrances of the community with landscaping, trees; the fulfillment of the Belvedere pedestrian promenade; the addition of mature street trees and perhaps the installation of historically relevant street lighting in our Village.

The core initiative, the baseline under the benefits of grant actualization and capital project fulfillment, is the utilization of the collected revenue from property owners to fund general maintenance and improvement services, these include but are not limited to power-washing, trash pick-up and graffiti cleaning. The city will continue to perform these functions, and the MAD will literally “enhance La Jolla” via more frequent and additional maintenance services that the city cannot provide

Village MADs are a logical formation in a city whose budget issues have left it unable to provide many of the general services villages need, like street sweeping, sidewalk cleaning and tree trimming. The general benefits people have come to expect from cities are declining. Without MADs there is ongoing deterioration of quality of life within cities. But via collected MAD funds, residents define their Village and enhance their own property values in the process. As it is said, a rising tide lifts all boats. The MAD is not here to replace the city standard. We are here to rise above it.

— Read more at enhancelajolla.org

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