Sunday, January 20, 2008

Special Taxes without Special Privileges?

At a dinner party on Friday I came to find out that you have to register your child for kindergarten. I also learned that if you don't get in line early enough, your child may not make it into the local elementary school, and they will have to go to a school where there is room.

This turned my whole world upside down, since I just assumed my kids will go to the district we are in. Isn't that what the whole, school maps are for? At least it was where I grew up (in California).

So basically people paying the special impact fees for the local school, may not end up enjoying the services they are being asked to pay for! To me this is rather outrageous.

I was not opposed to Mello Roos under most circumstances. It made sense to assess the newer developments for the new roads and schools. But my major assumption was that the people in the new development would be the one who most heavily use the infrastructure the Mello Roos is paying for. Apparently there is no guarantee. With that in mine, I am not nearly as willing to sign up for a home with those additional taxes.

So for all you who have school aged children around here.....if your kids don't get into the local elementary school, are the parents expected to provide transportation to the assigned alternate school? If so EDH, Folsom and CP have just lost a lot of their luster in my eyes.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have heard from some parents at my daughter's dance class that this was an issue with the schools that Serrano feeds into which is one reason we did not buy there or in the Pulte development off Oak Hollow.

Sippn said...

Its a lousy deal, I agree.

Its an issue throughout CA. Schools are impacted as fees are not enough apparantly.

But how do you expect them to hire enought people, etc. unless you give them proper notice? Plant chips in your kids?

Come down to the north east area, pay the fees if you by new and still get a 30 year old school with substandard facilities.

Cmyst said...

I don't know how it is up here, but down in the San Juan district when my kids were younger, if they couldn't go to the school closest to your home they did have school bus routes to pick them up. But you had to pay for it.
This is a little surprising to me; I'd assumed that people buying into these upscale developments would somehow get a pass.

Paul said...

My understanding is that Mello Roos does not normally include school fees. Someone more knowledgeable may correct me, but my understanding of Mello Roos is that it is similar to 1911 and 1913 bonds to finance on-site and off-site infrastrusture (sewer, water, street) improvements, not schools. Before the developer gets approval from the school district for a final subdivision map, the developer frequently enters into an agreement with the school district, to set aside land for schools and actually build and "donate" a school to the District. Under these circumstances, it is possible that the developer includes the costs of school construction in the Mello Roos costs, but I do not know this. Thereafter, the school is funded by the regular tax scheme, without regard for where you live, excepting that higher property tax areas receive more money for their schools as a function of the higher property taxes, ie., Serrano, Granite Bay.

In El Dorado County, when a developer or whomever, obtains a SFH building permit, in addition to Mello Roos, that person pays (1) Traffic Impact Mitigation fee ($42,400 in Cameron Park); (2) School fees of about $2.43 sq/ft, or about $5,000 for a modest home; (3) General Plan Traffic Impact Mitigation fee of about 1% (or about $4,000 for a modest home); CP Community Services "special impact fee" of $9,806.00/house; CP Fire District fees of $2,678.00; plus Rare Plant fees, the actual building permit fee itself, grading permit fee, etc. Each are purported to be one time fees for capital improvements, not ongoing services.

earl said...

Home school the crumb snatchers.Are there any good teachers left?

Cmyst said...

Paul, am I reading you right that in Cameron Park, you are going to pay over 52K in fees on a SFH??

You know, this might be a really good topic, that could have a definite impact on decisions to move further away from business and industrial centers. People moving into smaller communities do stress the services those communities provide and we need to pull our own weight, but 52K in fees and an hour commute seems like it's reaching the far side of sanity. Plus, you have to question how welcoming a community is to outsiders if it seems to be trying to discourage anyone from building there.

Buying Time said...

I understand the need for registration, but it just totally messed up my drop deadline for finding a place (when my oldest starts kindergarten in Fall 09). I thought we had a year and a half.....but if you have to register a year in advance...that means we would have to purchase some time this year!

As for the fees....I hadn't thought about the class size mandates...I think those were put in after I left the State.

The parents (other daycare parents) actually were talking about putting their kids in private school to avoid this issue. But one of the main reasons we are looking in this in the foothills, is that we could use the public schools.

The nice Elliott development off Zinfandel is starting to look much more attractive if private school and busing are going to come into play up here.

Paul - Great write up on the fees...Mr. BT has been keenly interested in this topic, since he still dreams of building our own place.

rainman said...

Elliott Development off Zinfandel would be Elgrove school dist.. Is that in any way comparison to Folsom/EDH schools?

Sippn said...

Last I looked, school fees are double what you think, about $5 per foot 2 years ago, and total fees can approach $75K in EG and Rancho and were rising in EL Dorado - but of course, you want a new home for $250K right?

Gwynster said...

BT,

You don't have to buy this year. I'll leave it at that before I fly off into a full blown rant.

smf said...

"but of course, you want a new home for $250K right?"

Why do you think housing was/is so much more expensive in Cali? These 'fees' are nothing new. It is a way for the government to tell you that taxes have NOT been raised. They raise the fees.

And in their wisdom, they will raise them higher once construction drops off more.

Paul said...

Cmyst et al. on the subject of fees: The fees I quoted came from the County website (and school district and others) as of the time I was writing the comment on BT's blog. I didn't use a spreadsheet or calculator ... Just doing numbers in my head for 2,500 sq ft home. With a much higher level of precision, a year ago when I used the spreadsheet, fees for a permit for 2,100 sq ft SFH in CP were $68,000. I know they have gone up.

Even more troubling to me is what I believe (constitutionally protected opinion) is the plundering of traffic impact mitigation fees (the single largest component in El Dorado County permit fees) by the Board of Supervisors, for pet projects absolutely unrelated to the geographical area where the fees are generated.

BT: Most counties have all of the fees on their respective websites, but it can be very difficult to determine if you are in a so-called rare plant habitat, absestos mitigation zone, or the like. Now that government fees have become such a large component of building costs (at least in local counties), it should be an important part of the "buy a lot and build a custom home" decision.

In comparison, the fees in less desirable counties, can be less than $10,000.

Observant One said...

If you want to know what public facilities are funded by Mello Roos assessments applicable to any particular home, just get the underlying info for those particular Mello Roos bonds (available from the county). All of the info is there.

Until you do that, you have no basis to cry foul; you don't even know if you're paying for school facilities through those assessments.

Buying Time said...

OO - Even if I don't pay local fees via a Mello Roos, I am not real keen on the idea that I could end up driving my kids to a school farther away because I didn't line up in time.

I'm not crying foul.....but this situration is going to have a sizable impact on the overall desireability of the foothill communities for Mr. BT and I.

Observant One said...

I'm curious about whether it's a situation that's unique to that particular community, or is this the case everywhere in the Sacramento area?

Husmanen said...

We just signed up our daughter for kindergarten in Folsom for the fall semester. That is about nine months out, I think that is about right.

I know someone that works at Jackson School in EDH. Registration papers are available in February and actual registration occurs in February 2007 for the fall 2007 semester.

Sippn said...

SImilar sign up times in San Juan.

Paul - many fees are not posted on county web sites are the county is not responsible for collecting all the fees for building - but bet that you would be repsonsible for paying! THat is because school discticts, counties, cities, CSDs, etc have overlapping and different boundries.

Even if you only see a "building permit" fee of $50-75K, often a tract builder will have paid another layer of fees at the land development phase, or had other extractions ("blackmail") paid at other phases.

Paul said...

Sipn is correct. I only posted the fees shown on the EDC website for new permits as collected by the Building Dept. I did not include (in ED Co.) the EID fees for water meter, water connection and sewer connection, which are collected by EID. And he is also correct that the developer has likely paid 10's of thousands of dollars in other fees (or provided infrastructure in lieu of fees), already.

sacramentia said...

School fees vary by district, Elk Grove is notoriously expensive.

The school issues are in every growing area in the state. At least in EDH you are picking from two good schools. Time to run for school board and influence the decision.

And the harsh reality of the 250k new house is that it will be <1500 sq ft. The quality of life will have to fall to compensate for the global debt bubble deflation. It was ridiculous to ever think that the average guy got to live in 3500 square feet of luxury.

sacramentia said...

Just called the elementary school in EDH. Registration for fall is March 4th, about 6months in advance. You had me worried ...

Buying Time said...

Good to know Tia...I was actually thinking of calling myself. I know one of the districts requires a year in advance...perhaps it was Folsom?