Residents of Elk Grove enjoy award-winning recreation facilities, including 97 parks, 1,017 acres of park and open space and 18 miles of trails. These facilities are constructed and maintained by Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD).
CSD relies on different funding sources to plan, construct and maintain these facilities. Construction is generally funded through agreements with community developers, such as park impact fees.
Maintenance of parks, streetscapes and trails is funded through assessments approved by a vote of property owners, known as Landscape and Lighting (L&L) assessments. Last year, L&L assessments generated approximately $14 million. Property tax revenues are not used for park construction or maintenance.
The Landscape and Lighting Act of 1972 (Streets & Highways §22500) allows local governmental agencies to form Landscape & Lighting (L&L) Maintenance Districts for the purpose of financing the costs and expenses of landscaping and lighting public areas. This act can be used by public agencies such as cities, counties, and special districts to fund services including, but not limited to, the installation and maintenance of landscaping, park amenities, general lighting, traffic lights, recreational areas, and public restrooms.
California voters passed Proposition 218, the “Right to Vote on Taxes Act” in November 1996. This constitutional amendment protects taxpayers by limiting the methods by which local governments can create or increase taxes, fees and charges without taxpayer consent. Proposition 218 requires voter approval prior to imposition or increase of general taxes, assessments, and certain user fees.
These landscape assessments are collected in 12 benefit zones (BZs) throughout the District to support the facilities in that zone. In addition, there are four “overlays” (smaller zones within the primary zones) in which subsets of property owners have approved an additional assessment to maintain or expand parks located in their neighborhoods.
Each benefit zone has a unique assessment amount that reflects the number and size of its parks, trails and streetscapes, relative to the number of homes, apartments and commercial properties in that zone. In 2018-19, assessment amounts range from $89 to $445 per household.