Assessment issue sparks lively discussion in Ranch

RANCHO SANTA FE — The routine task of setting Rancho Santa Fe 2011-2012 assessment sparked a lively discussion among the Association board at its Oct. 6 meeting.
The board ended up voting the Open Space Program be decreased by a 1/2 cent and that amount added to general operations, but for this fiscal year only.
Because of the loss of revenue from property taxes due to the economic downturn, the Finance Committee recommended that the 14 cents per $100 of property valuation be split into 11.5 cents for general services and 2.5 cents for open space, Pete Smith, Association manager told the board.
For the 2010-2011 budget that number was 11 cents for general services and 3 cents to the open space program per the $100 assessed valuation of the San Diego County Assessor’s roll.
“The total valuation for all Covenant properties per the July 1, 2011 edition of the San Diego County Assessor’s roll is $3.930 billion. This represents a -2.53 percent decrease over last year’s assess valuation of $4,032 billion,” Smith said.
“The Finance Committee met on Sept. 29 and recommends the assessment rate of 14 cents per $100 of property valuation, following the approved 2011-2012 Association budget. However due to declining assessment revenue, that the budgeted allocation of 11 cents for general services and 3 cents for Open Space be reallocated to represent 11.5 cents for general services and 2.5 cents for open space,” he said.
“Any actual surplus realized at the end of the fiscal year be transferred to Open Space,” Smith said.
Director Larry Spitcaufsky said loss of revenue is a common problem and the Association’s financial situation is not unique among homeowners associations, but that he would like to make a determination that this allocation last only this year.
He said the Association ought to do a financial projection that would look five or 10 years into the future to help guide the way financially.
Director Dick Doughty agreed the motion should contain a time constraint, but he disagreed that the Rancho Santa Fe Association is not unique.
“We are very unique,” he said. “We are in good condition and have a long history of being in good condition.”
New director Eamon Callahan, who has experience running large businesses, disagreed that a financial projection would be affective.
“They are not worth the paper they are written on, especially these days,” he said.
Callahan also suggested that since property value has decreased, perhaps the money needed for open space is not so pressing.
“Land is going down,” he said.
“Maybe there are some good deals out there,” Director Roxan Foxx said.


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