Peninsula Water Shortage Causing Increased Fees, Property Taxes | News
By Brooke Holmquist - email
MONTEREY, Calif.- New information on a possible property tax increase. The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District is proposing the hike and says it's all because of the peninsula's water woes.
Monday, the water management district will vote on the proposed hike.
Central Coast News first told you in February, the state told the district it could no longer put the fee on the water bill you get from Cal Am Water.
So now, it wants to increase your property tax by eight percent.
More people are now speaking out against the plan and Central Coast News took some of those concerns to the district to get answers.
The Monterey Peninsula Water District said this is really just a fee transfer. But it's where the district is transferring the fee has people on the peninsula concerned the district is over stepping it's bounds.
"Have ratepayers pay a tax for water service when they don't receive water service from the water management district, they receive water service from Cal Am," said Kevin Stone from the Monterey County Association of Realtors.
Water district general manager dave Stoldt said water rates are going up no matter what because of the new projects that need to be implemented since the state told Cal Am to stop taking water from the Carmel River.
Stoldt said the district is directly involved with Cal Am to get the alternative water projects going--and needs the $3.7 million to make it happen.
Opponents said putting the fee on property tax isn't the way to do it.
"We don't want to get into a process of just approving increases automatically or with some kind of a vote objecting to it," said Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.
First concern is the water fee will be figured by the size of the parcel you own; Stoldt said no.
"Home size for single family home owners...small home size, medium, large home size...It's a flat rate per usage category...You may have offices up to 10 employees that's a category.
Next concern, businesses don't like it because if a property owner has to pay more taxes that's getting passed on to every tenant on the parcel.
"Fairly typical to do commercial pass throughs that landlords have with respect to any triple net lease...With residential different leases are written different ways...It's something we are concerned about making work smoothly for the property owners," said Stoldt.
And lastly, if you don't pay, the water management district can put a lean on your home, leading to foreclosure.
"Exactly the same as every other property tax...In fact, it's probably easier when it's on the assessor's bill because in CA it takes five years to implement a foreclosure proceeding...If we were to bill directly after one year we'd have a hearing and place a lean on the property tax for unpaid bills," said Stoldt.
If the water district's board votes to move forward with the property tax fee, voters in the district will have until June 12th to send letters in opposition.
The meeting is Monday night at 7pm at the Hyatt in Monterey.
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