All Systems Go? San Diego Mayor’s 2020 budget to include La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District (MAD)

When San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer issues his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2020, assessments for the La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) are reportedly going to be in it.

“Along with all City of San Diego MADs (there are currently 55 with their boundaries listed at bit.ly/citymadmaps) staff will be requesting that the La Jolla MAD annual report be approved for FY 2020 along with anticipated revenues and expenditures,” said City spokesperson Anna Vacchi.

“If approved by City Resolution during the FY 2020 budget approval hearing, it’s anticipated the City will enroll all MAD assessments — including La Jolla’s — to the County prior to Aug. 10, 2019.”

The timeline

Volume one of the Mayor’s budget is released in April with proposed figures, and the City’s Independent Budget Analyst reviews the first draft and then issues a preliminary report in late April.

In May, City Council members hold budget hearings to gather input from residents. Soon after, the Mayor releases his revision and the Independent Budget Analyst issues budget recommendations. In June, the adopted budget is established.

Should the Mayor’s budget be approved with the La Jolla MAD, the assessment schedule will be submitted to the County by Aug. 10, and the County will mail the assessments with the property tax bills around late September 2019.

“The assessments are due to the County in two installments — the first is due by Dec. 10, 2019 and second by April 10, 2020. The County then transfers the assessments to the City,” Vacchi explained.

The funds

The La Jolla MAD assessments will be approximately $87 annually for most residents within the District boundaries and fees for District businesses are based on the footprint of the building.

The MAD would generate approximately a half-million dollars annually for maintenance in The Village.

The La Jolla-based group Enhance La Jolla would manage the MAD with authority to 1) “enhance” City-provided services including landscape maintenance, street and sidewalk cleaning, litter and graffiti abatement, plus additional trash collection and 2) privately fund and complete capital improvement projects in public spaces, such as upgrade trash cans, install benches, augment signage, make park improvements, increase public art and plant tree canopies on main thoroughfares.

The first services will be funded through the assessments collected, and the second through private donations.

Enhance La Jolla president Ed Witt said of the recent development: “I’m very excited and happy that we’re finally moving forward so we can improve the La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District. This will provide us with the necessary tools to begin to enhance the District and create a better environment for business and property owners within La Jolla. I speak for everyone on the board when I say we appreciate the Mayor doing this and the City Attorney’s office for recommending this. We will be ready to go as soon as the City forwards us the funds!”

The projects

In the meantime, Enhance La Jolla can collect private donations to execute projects to benefit the community. The board met at La Jolla Library in early March to discuss upcoming projects. The first two — the creation of an overall streetscape plan for The Village (pricetag $75,000) and the installation of La Jolla-branded bike racks throughout town (pricetag TBD) — have been funded by the La Jolla Community Foundation.

A MAD is a legal mechanism by which property owners can vote to assess themselves to pay and receive services above-and-beyond what the City normally provides. The MAD for La Jolla was approved by a majority (weighted by property size and type) of the commercial and residential property owners within its boundaries in November 2016.

Soon after the MAD was passed, the La Jolla Benefits Association LLC was formed, and it filed a lawsuit challenging the MAD’s legality on the grounds that services the MAD would provide are services the City should be carrying out, such as additional trash collection, litter abatement, graffiti control, landscape maintenance and power-washing sidewalks.

After legal back-and-forth, San Diego Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp ruled the MAD could proceed.

To learn more, visit enhancelajolla.org

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