/*added another slider news box below here*/

Monday, September 26, 2011

Community Workshop on Landscape Maintenance Zones

Monday, September 26, 2011

The city of Santee has scheduled a community meeting to explain the long-term financial outlook of landscape maintenance zones currently administered by the city.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 5 in Building 7 at the City Hall complex, 10601 Magnolia Ave., Santee, CA 92071.

Collectively, 14 landscape maintenance zones encompass 22 acres of ornamental landscaping along major arterial, residential and commercial zones in the city. However, 11 of the city’s 14 active landscape maintenance district zones have reached the cap on their allowable annual tax assessments. Several reached their cap more than ten years ago.

“The city’s landscape maintenance zones are at a financial turning point,” said Community Services Director Bill Maertz. “Current assessments in most of our zones are not sufficient to cover increasing costs for water, fuel, electricity and labor.”

The city cannot subsidize the underfunded landscape maintenance districts with its General Fund, which, since 2008, has been stifled by declining property and sales taxes. The city’s priority for General Fund revenue continues to be public safety, such as police and fire services.

“The purpose of this meeting is to explain the financial outlook to those paying assessments to support landscape maintenance and outline some options,” said Maertz, who will host the meeting along with Finance Director Tim McDermott. “The city is not advocating for any particular solution. It’s up to the community to decide what course to take.”

In anticipation of rising costs, the city in 2009 hired a consultant to study ways to put the districts on a path to fiscal solvency without sacrificing the quality of landscaping. The consultant, Schmidt Design Group Inc., produced a report in August 2010 that identifies ways to reduce water usage while maintaining attractive landscaping along major streets and in neighborhoods.

The report includes such suggestions as:
  • Installing more efficient irrigation devices;
  • Replacing non-native ornamental plants with attractive varieties that are more drought tolerant; and
  • Replacing wood-based mulch with more durable materials, such as river cobbles.
The report says that, if the recommended improvements are put into place, the districts may be able to reduce annual costs by up to 30 percent.

Estimated capital costs to install the improvements, which would be amortized up to 10 years, would range from $557,314 for basic upgrades to $1.6 million for those that would have the greatest visual impact.

The report concludes that, even if no improvements are made to the landscaping, the annual costs for water will increase by as much as 94 percent ($128,000 annually) by the year 2018.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.