News Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News Rancho Santa Fe

Council shoots down citywide lighting district

OCEANSIDE — City Council unanimously shot down the idea of developing a citywide lighting district assessment on June 30. Council determined the proposal to charge homeowners approximately $12.94 per year for a single-family residence — in addition to the present lighting district charge of $28.74 per year — was riddled with flaws.
The proposed fees would be based on a patchwork of three different zones that grade the benefits each home receives from streetlight improvements.
Mobile home park residents who already pay a homeowners association fee for private roads and streetlights protested to being assessed as part of a surrounding neighborhood outside the park.
“All the zones are not accurate,” a resident said. “The work should be accurate and we should understand what’s going on.”
There were numerous complaints about the ballot process that asked for homeowners’ opinions on the proposed lighting district. Some homeowners said they were mailed two ballots and others said they never received a ballot.
“One or two days after it (the ballot) was sent out to you I received complaints and concerns,” Mayor Jim Wood said. “The motivation behind it was the budget crunch. I’m certainly concerned and a little embarrassed by the way it went out to you.”
The rate for time-share owners also came into question. Steve Harvey said he got a $28.55 a year bill as a one-week time-share owner. It was not determined if all 52 time-share owners of the single unit received the same bill, but if they did Harvey figured the light assessment cost to total $1,484.60 a year per time-share unit.
Another complaint is that the proposed assessment would increase annually to cover anticipated climbs in electricity and maintenance costs with no end date to yearly increases.
Council determined that the proposal was too flawed to support. “I’m all about saving taxpayer dollars, but I think it would be a waste of time and money,” Councilman Jerry Kern said.
The item was terminated and homeowner ballots will not be counted. Now either $398,000 from the gas tax fund and $410,000 from the general fund will be used to pay for streetlights or there will be a reduction in the amount of service.