Home Brentwood Brentwood: Deer Ridge Residents Could Vote on $50 a Year Landscape Improvements Tax

Brentwood: Deer Ridge Residents Could Vote on $50 a Year Landscape Improvements Tax

by ECT

On Tuesday, the Brentwood City Council directed staff to move forward with the process that could result in a Prop 218 ballot to residents in an effort to improve landscaping within the Deer Ridge neighborhood.

If approved, residents in the Deer Ridge Neighborhood (LLAD 99-5) would vote on a tax which would spend $508,960 for for construction of landscaping improvements to Deer Ridge frontage areas to conform to city landscape standards.

Brentwood anticipates a tax of $50 with a cost of $20 annual cost to fund the project, and another $30 separate for 15-years to replenish the Capital Replacement Reserves. This process could take 6-12 months.

Bruce Mulder, Director of Parks & Recreation, he explained this was a request from the city council to look into allowing residents in Deer Ridge to incorporate the areas into the district for a funding source for the city to maintain the area.  Mulder pointed out this was not about the golf course, but 14-projects around the golf course.

According to Mulder, for the city to take over these 14-projects, the city would need to create a CIP to convert these areas to city irrigation—disconnected from golf course and converted to the city system (cutting and capping to water meters). Part of the land owned by the golf course would then need to be deeded to the city.

The total cost of the conversation is estimated at $508,960 which part of the project will be funded through the current assessment district reserves of $385k, but the balance would need to come from another source.

Mulder stated staff has identified that this could come from the Parks and LLAD Capital Replacement Fund, to be paid back by LLAD 99-5 over a period of time. The cost per dwelling unit would increase by $20 annually and another $30 annually to replenish the Capital Replacement Reserves—an estimated impact of $50 per unit.

Mulder further highlighted the maximum assessment for the Deer Ridge neighborhood is $827 and is currently at $515 per year but is expected to jump to $773 in Fiscal Year 22/23—without this project being included.

“The increases are due to several factors which include cost of maintenance to provide these services, utility cost increases, future intract improvements projected for future years, the districts contributions to equitable shares of citywide improvements and the districts contributions to capital replacement reserves,” stated Mulder who said if the $50 assessment is included, the District reaches its limit.

Councilwoman Karen Rarey asked how long the $30 replenishment fee would last. Staff replied approximately 15-years to replenish the reserves.

According to staff, this would be a Prop 218 where each person within the District would receive a notice and a “yes” or “no” ballot on the increase which is sent 45-days prior to the public hearing. It would pass if a majority of the residents support the measure or fail if a majority doesn’t.  The vote is weighted by the assessment amount—if a commercial parcel is 5x the amount as a single-family home, their vote is weighted 5x that of a single value home.  Staff said this is a property owner vote and its based on number of votes turned in.

Rarey highlighted there are 1,068 homes in Deer Ridge and she was curious if they needed half of that or just get a majority “yes” on what is turned in. Staff confirmed its based-on ballots turned in.

Claudette Staton asked if they were setting a precedent with this proposal to take over private property. City Manager Tim Ogden said the City would be interested in taking on any property of high interest as long as the funding was there—saying this is a case by case example and this was setting a precedent saying this was a unique situation with a District in place and funding available.

Vice Mayor Joel Bryant asked about the timeline if voters approved it, staff said it would take approximately 6-12 months as the timeline for doing the project.

During public comments, Rod Flohr encourage staff to provided positive direction saying it was a good idea to protect the neighborhood from blight of where the landscaping is not being taken care of.

“I think it’s very sensible as Claudette Staton stated maybe $4 a month, a cup of coffee. I think we can afford it and it would be very beneficial to the residents,” said Flohr.

According to City Staff, Tuesday’s agenda item was to present everything that needed to happen if the council wants them to move forward with a process of going to a vote to the neighborhood—including SunCoast Properties deeding over a proportion of the property to the city which would move forward with a Prop 218 process.

Rarey asked if SunCoast Properties deeds this over to the city and the Ballot Measure fails, where did it leave the city?  City staff said it would leave the city in the same position it is in now and they would have to work with SunCoast Properties. Staff further stated there would be language in the contract that the deed would only move forward with the passage of a ballot.

Mayor Bob Taylor stated he wanted no surprises and that the people voting on this truly know how much this is going to cost and no surprise when this is over in terms of cost increases.

“$50 to some people might not be a lot, but to others, it could be detrimental,” stated Taylor. “Dot the I’s and cross the T’s.”

Councilmember Johnny Rodriguez asked if it was $50 for everyone or if people were paying different prices. Staff replied everyone would pay the same regardless of how close they live to the improvements—saying it benefits the community in that area as a whole.

“I think we need to be very transparent on that information from the beginning because right now its what we are looking at, but maybe in a year or two it may change,” stated Rodriguez.

Rarey stated this had been a long process and started working on this back in October when the golf course closed and residents had came to her with the concern.

“In bringing this to the council, I have been posting on social media and there have been overwhelming support from Deer Ridge residents who support this effort. I know we have the backing from quite a few people out there,” stated Rarey. “They are anxious for this to take place.”

Claudette Staton asked with the cost of $500k estimate, would it be better for the city to fix up the property and bill the owner or place a lien on the property.

City Manager Ogden explained there are currently liens on the property that have not been paid. Staff was working with SunCoast on if progress was made they would not issue anymore fines, but that could change. Ogden further highlighted they still have the rest of the golf course to consider and other issues while there is still $27k in fines that are outstanding that need to get paid.

The council then voted 5-0 to direct staff move forward in the process.

For staff report and maps, click here.

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Bobby Lott Jul 17, 2020 - 9:17 am

The arrogance of Rarey, Flohr and others and the entitlement. Lets worry about improving landcapring but continue to kill fire taxes to improve service. Brentwood should not borrow money from the Parks and LLAD Capital Replacement Fund which impact ALL of Brentwood, but instead if they want this, pay the full tax themselves. Other areas in Brentwood need landscape improvements more than Deer Ridge. So glad we are going to Districts so people like Rarey, Bryant who live in Deer Ridge cannot use their council position to benefit the neighborhoods they live in.

Janet Jul 17, 2020 - 9:32 am

Karen Rarey is the biggest fake on the council. For all the talk about supporting fire, she focus on landscaping in her neighborhood so it looks nice and increases HER property value. Shame on her. I agree with Bobby, no borrowing funds from the rest of the city to fund her pet project.

Tim Johnson Jul 17, 2020 - 10:13 am

I like the idea to just keep fining the property owner, at some point with liens they will sell and the property will be taken care of and maybe a golf course could return. People like Rarey are just shortsighted and have no vision. They want it now and they don’t care about the impact on the rest of the city.

Giving SunCoast and out from their own responsibility, I wonder if they are making a donation to Rarey’s mayoral campaign. Just a thought.

Marco Jul 17, 2020 - 1:14 pm

We’re in a pandemic. The economy is crashing down to the rocks. People are losing their jobs. We are under funded in fire services putting lives at risk. The country is wrestling with social justice, and facing authoritarinism threats. But worse than all of this – we have some landscaping issues to address. Everybody dig deep and please try hard to understand this very important issue to Brentwood, so we can continue to live in our out of touch bubble!

J Jul 17, 2020 - 10:15 pm

BetterInBrentwood LOL

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