|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2011
|CONTACT: Candace E. Cassel
Special Districts Division Manager
Moreno Valley Seeks Parcel Charge Increase for Select Landscape Maintenance Areas
A handful of Moreno Valley property owners will be asked to approve a parcel charge increase to cover the rising costs of maintaining common landscaped areas around their housing tracts and key commercial properties. The increase will enable the City to maintain landscapes at current levels for these identified parcels.
Owners of more than 5,200 parcels will soon receive in the mail a ballot along with helpful information regarding common parkway and median landscapes in their neighborhoods. Property owners are being asked to mark their ballots to approve or oppose the increase and return them either with the enclosed stamped envelope or by dropping off in person to the City Clerk by Tuesday, June 28, 2011, when a public hearing will be held and the ballots will be tabulated. A public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 14, 2011. Both meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers.
Moreno Valley’s many neighborhoods are distinguished by well-designed and maintained landscapes along major roads in and around these housing tracts and commercial areas. As demonstrated in Moreno Valley and communities throughout the country, landscapes maintained to certain standards provide multiple benefits. These benefits include: Enhanced property values, crime reduction and improved safety, dust control, erosion control, and wind barriers, noise reduction, and beautification, identity and character to communities.
An increase in the annual parcel charge is sought because the cost to maintain landscapes has risen and the city has exhausted all efficiency efforts. The amount of the increase varies by the specific landscape maintenance needs within specific tracts or Community Services District (CSD) zones. The mail ballot, which will be sent to owners of properties within certain areas of Zones D and E, will include a detailed map of the landscaped areas in the neighborhood and the 2011-12 budget for that zone or tract. Parcel charges are the only source of funding to maintain these landscapes. The last increase for most of these parcels and landscaping zones was approved by property owners in 2005 and 2006. In one zone, no increase has occurred since 1986.
The proposed parcel charge recovers the actual costs of maintaining landscapes. These costs include mowing, pruning, tree trimming, weed control, water, electricity, fertilizer, repairs due to age of equipment or vandalism, litter removal, inspections, and other maintenance required for each specific area. Landscape maintenance costs have been impacted by the higher cost of electricity, water and petroleum, which affects everything from fuel for maintenance vehicles and equipment to fertilizer. In recent years, the City has implemented a range of efficiency measures to delay parcel charge increases. These efficient steps have included installing more efficient irrigation devices to reduce water use, converting many landscapes to more water efficient designs and plant materials, competitive bidding with landscape maintenance contractors and evaluation of work flow.
If a majority of property owners approve the increase, the new parcel charge will appear on the 2011-12 Riverside County property tax bill and landscaping will continue to be maintained in their current condition. If the increase is opposed, the existing parcel charge level will remain unchanged, but maintenance operations for landscaped areas in these zones either will be reduced to minimum levels or could cease altogether. Appearance of these areas may deteriorate, among other potential impacts.
Moreno Valley’s Special District personnel will be conducting multiple community briefing sessions in the affected areas to present budget details, maps of the CSD Zones and other information about common landscaped areas and answer questions. Property owners with questions or who want to schedule a community briefing are asked to call the Special Districts office at 951-413-3480 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the Community Services District, landscape zones, financial information and related documents may also be found on the city’s website, www.moval.org (click on the “Landscape” button).
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