Wild Oaks Park assessment refund stymied

Despite legal opinions to the contrary El Dorado Hills resident John Everett contends the community services district has overcharged him and his neighbors. Village Life photo by Mike Roberts

Despite legal opinions to the contrary El Dorado Hills resident John Everett contends the community services district has overcharged him and his neighbors. Village Life photo by Mike Roberts

El Dorado Hills resident John Everett’s long-running claim that Community Services District landscape and lighting assessments have overcharged residents since 1996, when the “Roadway 19” assessment district was approved to fund landscape maintenance along El Dorado Hills Boulevard, was dismissed by the board during the regular board meeting held Nov. 19.

Everett argued that language in SCI Consulting’s most recent engineering report indicates that he and his neighbors are exempt from the $30 annual assessment because they are eligible for roadway improvement assessments in the Wild Oaks Park assessment district.

The CSD board’s Admin/Finance Committee asked acting Finance Director Sherry Shannon to look into Everett’s charges in October. On Thursday she reported to the board that she’d reviewed the relevant documents with SCI Consulting and, “The original intent has been consistently applied.” The board’s legal council concurred.

Shannon cited page seven of the Roadway LLAD formation document, which lists the areas specifically included in Roadway 19, and includes Wild Oaks Park.

Shannon noted that verbiage cited by Everett in SCI’s FY2010-11 Engineers Report is misleading. The paragraph on Roadway 19 states “Exempted from the assessment are parcels of land that are being assessed in other Landscape and Lighting Districts for similar improvements along major roadways. Those districts include any parcels of land in the core areas of the EDHCSD, Green Valley, Marina, Wild Oaks, Crescent, La Cresta and Lake Forest Zone C.”

SCI has reviewed the wording, said Shannon, and clarified that they intended the list of districts in the second sentence above to mean those that are included, not excluded, from the Roadway 19 assessment.

Her analysis, and the concurring opinion of Thurbon and McHaney, Attorneys at Law, can be found beginning on page 102 of the “current board of directors regular agenda meeting packet” at www.edhcsd.org/board_of_directors.html. The engineers report in question can be found on page 130.

Shannon said SCI promises to tighten the wording up in next year’s report.

“The wording is there in black and white,” countered Everett. “If somebody wants to say that that’s not the intent of that wording, and you want to change it next year, we don’t buy that.”

He made a verbal public records act request for all assessment district formation and engineering documents.

The analysis of the formation documents also found that nine parcels located on Hidden Acres Drive were incorrectly added to the maintenance portion of the Wild Oaks Park assessment district in fiscal year 2002. SCI research revealed the error occurred due to parcel renumbering in 2001.

Shannon’s staff has gathered the parcel owner information and is in the process of refunding the fees to these property owners for fiscal year 2002 through 2010.

Everett also voiced concern that some parcels in Francisco Oaks were charged more than the $98 maximum Wild Oaks Park assessment. Shannon reported that parcels in Francisco Oaks receiving 1.206 “bond units” instead of the usual 1 unit because the original Francisco Oaks tentative map contained plans for 82 homes, while the final map had only 68. Bond law required the assessment liens be reapportioned, resulting in a slightly higher annual bond payment for these units, she explained. “It’s all legal.”

Citing staff and legal counsel’s opinions, the board decided not to fund a $7,500 independent audit of the formation documents and engineers’ reports.


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Posted by on Nov 19 2010.
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