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Maintenance Services’ Fate Hinges on Vote

The city has sent ballots to property owners asking whether they would be willing to continue to pay a special tax for public maintenance.

Irvine has relied on a special assessment district since 1983 to pay for public services such as street sweeping and lighting, parking and landscaping. But with the passage of Proposition 218 last November, the city must get property owners’ permission to continue to collect the money.

The ballot asks homeowners--who are assessed up to $42 annually--and other property owners if they want to keep paying for those services or shift the burden entirely to the city. The ballots must be returned to the city clerk’s office, postmarked no later than July 8.

City officials said it costs $6 million a year to maintain these services. If the tax’s continuation is approved, the city would pay most of the costs from its operating budget and collect about 25% of the cost from homeowners.

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If the majority rejects the measure, the city could face a $1.4-million shortfall and be forced to reduce services, cut spending or both. The city’s contingency plan designates budget areas that would be cut, officials said.

The first public hearing on the ballot measure will be at 6:30 p.m. June 24 at City Hall, 1 Civic Center Plaza. A second hearing is planned for July 8.


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