In July 2009, members of the Greater Golden Hill Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) convinced a majority of city councilmembers to cut fiscal year 2010's assessment in half, preventing the collection of new assessments until existing rollover funds were spent.
The maintenance assessment district, approved by voters in 2007, provides services such as graffiti abatement and litter removal.
In June the city council will vote on a new year's budget for the Greater Golden Hill MAD, and once again the community is littered with objections. According to the website for Golden Hill Community Development, the organization that administers the MAD, the budget for fiscal year 2011 is at $732,746. The original amount approved by voters and included in the engineer's report is $488,590.
"The budget posted by the Golden Hill Community Development Corporation for the Golden Hill Maintenance Assessment District is excessive," wrote a group of Golden Hill and South Park residents in a letter to the Greater Golden Hill CDC and the City. "The amount of $732,746 far exceeds the amount approved by the voters for annual expenditures. That amount is $488,590. Please discuss with the City of San Diego ways of reducing your expenses to that amount."
Some residents feel that if surpluses exist then they should be used toward that next year’s assessment, not stuffed into a bank account or used to expand the scope of services.
The residents cite state law to prove their case: Streets and Highways Code #22656 states, "If there is a surplus or a deficit in the improvement fund of an assessment district at the end of any fiscal year, the surplus or deficit shall be carried forward to the next annual assessment to be levied within such district and applied as a credit or debit, as the case may be, against such assessment."
"I think they should apply any excess over $488,890 to reduce the taxpayer's costs for next year," writes Golden Hill resident and opponent of the MAD, Barbara Houlton in an April 27 email. "This is not an original idea; the state law addresses it."
The Greater Golden Hill CDC approved the budget during an April meeting. City staff will review the draft budget before delivering it to the city council in June.
This correspondent contacted Pedro Anaya, the executive director for the Greater Golden Hill CDC and is awaiting his response.