EDH needs to discuss landscape and lighting funds

By: Billy Vandegrift, El Dorado Hills Community Services District Board President
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Our CSD staff is holding a series of neighborhood meetings in El Dorado Hills, discussing with homeowners the fees they pay for street landscaping, lighting, and some neighborhood parks. We need to have these discussions now, because some of the landscape and lighting funds are unable, or soon will be unable, to keep up with costs to maintain the property in designated areas. Property taxes are adequate to fund most, but not all, of the parks in El Dorado Hills. However, property tax revenues don’t stretch far enough to cover the costs of publicly maintained streetscapes, street lighting, some parks and nature areas. As a result, the property owners in various areas of El Dorado Hills have elected to form more than 20 Landscape and Lighting Assessment Districts (LLADs, sometimes called L&Ls) to fund those amenities. Unlike property tax revenues in the general fund, each separate LLAD fund is used exclusively for the development, operations, and maintenance of a specific area within El Dorado Hills. El Dorado County collects the assessment funds along with the property taxes, but funds designated for a particular LLAD are used only for that LLAD. There is an ongoing requirement for the CSD to maintain our parks and LLADs for aesthetic, environmental, and health reasons – not to mention our property values. Each LLAD is different in size, amenities, and funding needs. As a community, we need to review our LLADs from time to time, to determine whether they are adequately funded. And some of our LLADs are not. At the first LLAD meeting on Oct. 21, the homeowners were invited to discuss changes for Wild Oaks Park and the Silva Valley Assessment, which includes Fairchild Park. The next meeting is on tonight, at 6:30 p.m. in the Oak Ridge High School library with homeowners from Oakridge Village to discuss their assessment which, like Silva Valley, requires a subsidy from the general fund to meet expenses. The first gathering provided a good opportunity for homeowners to connect with their local government to discuss real issues of importance, and we are looking forward to seeing more of our residents as we hold these meetings in other neighborhoods.