La Canada Unified School District parcel tax, Measure LC (March 2014), full text
The full text of the legislation proposed by Measure LC follows:
The purpose of this measure is to renew and increase expiring locally controlled school funding to offset the local impact of cuts in State education funding for the District and provide the funding needed to sustain the outstanding quality of local public instruction offered in the District’s schools by generating a source of local revenue that cannot be taken by the State. Funds from this measure will go to continuing advanced academic programs in math, science and technology; attracting and retaining qualified teachers; maintaining manageable class sizes; and preparing students for the best colleges and careers,. Sustaining the outstanding quality of local public instruction offered in La Cañada schools also helps to protect property values within our community.
The Governing Board will use the funds for all of the purposes stated above, unless the Governing Board determines in any given year that changes in student population, fiscal constraints, or other changes in state or federal funding make doing so unfeasible or inadvisable. In any event, the Governing Board will not use the funds for any purpose other than those listed above from the proceeds of the special taxes.
Approval of this measure shall renew the existing qualified special tax of $150 per parcel and increase that rate by $300, so that the total amount to be levied is $450 per parcel of taxable real property per year for seven years, beginning July 1, 2014.
The tax shall be levied on all Parcels of Taxable Real Property in the District, as defined below, on the following basis:
Type of Parcel Rate of Annual Tax All Parcels Not to exceed Four Hundred Fifty Dollars ($450.00) per parcel
A “parcel of taxable real property” is defined as any unit of real property in the District that receives a separate tax bill for ad valorem property taxes from the County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office. All property that is otherwise exempt from or upon which no ad valorem property taxes are levied in any year shall also be exempt from the special tax in such year.
Any parcels that are contiguous to each other, in actual use as one residential or non-residential economic unit, and held under identical ownership shall, upon approval of an application from the owners thereof submitted to the District, be treated as a single parcel for purposes of the special tax. Applications for such treatment shall be made to the District on or before July 1, 2014, or before July 1 of any succeeding tax year. Any one approved application from a qualified applicant will provide for such treatment for the remaining term of the special tax, so long as all of the parcels continue to be held under identical ownership and are in actual use as one residential or non-residential economic unit.
An exemption shall be granted on any parcel owned by one or more persons aged 65 years or older who occupies said parcel as a principal residence, upon application for exemption (“Senior Citizen Exemption”). Applications for such exemptions shall be made to the District on or before July 1, 2014, or before July 1 of any succeeding tax year. Any one approved application from a qualified applicant will provide an exemption for the parcel for the remaining term of the special tax so long as such applicant continues to own and occupy the parcel as his or her principal residence. Approved applications on file with the District from initial term of the tax will continue to provide an exemption for the parcel for the remaining term of the special tax so long as such applicant continues to own and occupy the parcel as his or her principal residence.
The District shall annually provide to the County Treasurer-Tax Collector or other appropriate County tax official a list of parcels that the District has approved for a Senior Citizen Exemption and for “contiguous parcel” treatment.
Subject to two-thirds approval of the voters, the qualified special tax shall become effective as of July 1, 2014 and be collected by the Los Angeles County Tax Collector at the same time as and along with, and shall be subject to the same penalties as general ad valorem taxes collected by said tax collector. The tax and penalty shall bear interest at the same rate as the rate for unpaid ad valorem property taxes until paid. Any tax levied shall become a lien upon the properties against which taxes are assessed and collectible as herein provided.
With respect to all general property tax matters within its jurisdiction, the Los Angeles County Tax Assessor or other appropriate County tax official (“County”) shall make all final determinations of tax exemption or relief for any reason, and that decision shall be final and binding. With respect to matters specific to the levy of the special tax, including the Senior Citizen Exemption and the treatment of certain contiguous parcels as allowed below, the decisions of the District shall be final and binding. The procedures described herein, and any additional procedures established by the Governing Board, shall be the exclusive claims procedure for claimants seeking an exemption, refund, reduction, or re-computation of the special tax.
a.) All claims shall be filed with the Superintendent of the District no later than one year after the date the tax was paid. The claimant shall file the claim within this time period and the claim shall be finally acted upon the Board as a prerequisite to bringing suit thereon.
b.) Pursuant to Government Code section 935 (b) the claim shall be subject to the provisions of Government Code sections 945.6 and 946.
c.) The Board shall act on a timely claim within the time period required by Government Code section 912.4.
d.) The procedure described herein, and any additional procedures established by the Board, shall be the exclusive claims procedure for claimants seeking a refund, reduction, or re-computation of the special tax. Whether any particular claim is to be resolved by the District or by the County shall be determined by the District, in coordination with the County, as necessary.
Pursuant to California Constitution article XIIIB and applicable laws, the appropriations limit for the District will be adjusted periodically by the aggregate sum collected by levy of this special tax.
An expenditure plan (the “Proposed Annual Plan”) shall be developed annually, commencing in February 2015, for the succeeding fiscal year by the District staff in consultation with the independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee. The Proposed Annual Plan will recommend expenditures of the tax proceeds that are consistent with the intent of the Funding Measure. The assumptions associated with the recommended expenditures shall be included in the Proposed Annual Plan. The Proposed Annual Plan shall be presented for Board action each fiscal year in conjunction with the District’s annual budget adoption process for the subsequent fiscal year. To facilitate public discussion, the Proposed Annual Plan shall be made available for public review.
In accordance with the requirements of California Government Code sections 50075.1 and 50075.3, the following accountability measures, among others, shall apply to the special taxes levied in accordance with this Measure: (a) the specific purposes of the special tax shall be those purposes identified above; (b) the proceeds of the special tax shall be applied only to those specific purposes identified above; (c) a separate, special account shall be created into which the proceeds of the special taxes must be deposited; and (d) an annual written report shall be made to the Governing Board of the District showing (i) the amount of funds collected and expended from the proceeds of the special taxes and (ii) the status of any projects or programs required or authorized to be funded from the proceeds of the special taxes, as identified above.
In addition, an oversight committee of citizens shall be appointed or designated by the Governing Board to ensure that the special tax proceeds are spent for their authorized purposes, and to report annually to the Governing Board and the public regarding the expenditure of such funds.
The Board hereby declares, and the voters by approving this measure concur, that every section and part of this measure has independent value, and the Board and the voters would have adopted each provision hereof regardless of every other provision hereof. Upon approval of this measure by the voters, should any part of the measure or taxing formula be found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid for any reason, all remaining parts of the measure or taxing formula hereof shall remain in full force and effect to the fullest extent allowed by law. The District’s Governing Board may adopt such additional or supplemental procedures as it deems necessary or convenient for the administration of the special tax.
PROTECTION OF FUNDING
Current law forbids any decrease in State or Federal funding to the District because of the District’s adoption of a parcel tax. However, if any such funds are reduced because of the adoption of this parcel tax, then the amount of the special taxes will be reduced annually as necessary in order to restore such State or Federal funding.
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