Bird Rock Community Council wants to uproot MAD landscaper in La Jolla

Bird Rock Community Council secretary Barbara Dunbar, president John Newsam and treasurer David Dunbar hear a complaint about the Bird Rock Maintenance Assessment District made by resident Steve Burriesci (in green) as consultant Matt Mangano (standing) looks on.

Bird Rock is in the market for a new landscaper. At the Nov. 5 Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC) meeting, held at the La Jolla Masonic Lodge, civil engineer and Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) consultant Matt Mangano expressed his frustration with the company currently maintaining the roundabouts on La Jolla Boulevard and elsewhere in Bird Rock.

“I would suggest that they have not kept up to speed with the standards that we would expect for what we’re looking to deliver to the community and what the community expects,” Mangano said, adding that the company was not directly hired by BRCC, but rather inherited the MAD contract from a company that it acquired.

Mangano said is developing a proposal request for a new bidding process and guesses that a new company will be chosen in three or four months.

“We have adapted our methods to try to get the best out of them, and it hasn’t been delivered, so it’s time to move forward with the next step,” he said.

This development was revealed in response to a complaint about the condition of the MAD roundabouts made by Bird Rock resident Steve Burriesci, who noted: “We spend over $600 a day to have this whole MAD, and if we’re not getting the services, we shouldn’t be paying that much. And if we are paying and we’re not getting the services, then what’s happening? Why isn’t it being forced to get done? Something needs to be done either to get money back or to get the job done. Make it look nice.”

Mangano also noted that BRCC was holding back requests to plant new trees for the next landscaper, because it didn’t want to have to pay twice. Secretary Barbara Dunbar added that the soil in the roundabouts needs replacing first, since it practically “requires jack-hammering” to move, and that the cost of doing that is in next year’s budget.

All this lively discussion occurred not during the BRCC’s normal monthly meeting, which was truncated from an hour to 20 minutes, but during the annual meeting of the Bird Rock MAD. Required by law, this was basically a review of the significant events involving the Bird Rock MAD since its last annual meeting.

2021 budget and assessments presented

Dunbar announced the MAD budget for the 2021 fiscal year starting Oct. 1, 2020. She described it as “very similar to the current one — a few line items were reduced, others increased and there might be additional minor changes over next couple of months before it is submitted in January.”

Dunbar said that total income is projected to be about $213,000 — $164,000 of which will come from assessments and the rest from the City’s gas tax fund and the general benefit offset fund, which Dunbar explained was “what the City puts back into us because we’re providing services that they’re supposed to be providing and are not.”

Expenses should be “a little bit less,” Dunbar said.

The proposed assessment rate, Dunbar said, will remain at $90 per single-family home, as it is now, which Dunbar said was “well below the $195 estimated maximum amount allowed.” The condo rate will remain proportionally lower at $63 and the typical commercial property rate would be charged about $405.”

Holiday party/next meeting

The annual BRCC holiday party, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the organization’s founding, will be held 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3 at Wayfarer Bread & Pastry, 5525 La Jolla Blvd. BRCC president John Newsam said everyone who lives or works in Bird Rock is invited to celebrate.

— The Bird Rock Community Council next meets in conjunction with the aforementioned holiday party, during which its election results will be announced.