Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2014
 

Additional Government Code Provisions

Provisions Relating to Voter-Approved Special Taxes

TITLE 5. LOCAL AGENCIES

DIVISION 1. CITIES AND COUNTIES

PART 1. POWERS AND DUTIES COMMON TO CITIES AND COUNTIES

CHAPTER 1. General

Article 3.5. Voter-Approved Special Taxes

Chapter 1. General

Article 3.5. Voter-Approved Special Taxes*

* Article 3.5 was added by Stats. 1979, Ch. 903, in effect September 22, 1979.

50075. Authority to impose special taxes. It is the intent of the Legislature to provide all cities, counties, and districts with the authority to impose special taxes, pursuant to the provisions of Article XIII A of the California Constitution.

History.—Stats. 1980, Ch. 672, in effect July 20, 1980, added "and districts" after "counties" and substituted "pursuant" for "subject" after "taxes".

50075.1. Accountability measures for local special taxes. On or after January 1, 2001, any local special tax measure that is subject to voter approval that would provide for the imposition of a special tax by a local agency shall provide accountability measures that include, but are not limited to, all of the following:

(a) A statement indicating the specific purposes of the special tax.

(b) A requirement that the proceeds be applied only to the specific purposes identified pursuant to subdivision (a).

(c) The creation of an account into which the proceeds shall be deposited.

(d) An annual report pursuant to Section 50075.3.

History.—Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 535 (SB 165), in effect January 1, 2001.

50075.3. Annual report. The chief fiscal officer of the levying local agency shall file a report with its governing body no later than January 1, 2002, and at least once a year thereafter. The annual report shall contain both of the following:

(a) The amount of funds collected and expended.

(b) The status of any project required or authorized to be funded as identified in subdivision (a) of Section 50075.1.

History.—Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 535 (SB 165), in effect January 1, 2001.

50075.5. Definition of local agency and special district. As used in this article:

(a) "Local agency" means any county, city, city and county, including a charter city or county, or any special district.

(b) "Special district" means an agency of the state, formed pursuant to general law or a special act, for the performance of governmental or proprietary functions, with limited geographic boundaries, including, but not limited to, a school district and a community college district.

History.—Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 535 (SB 165), in effect January 1, 2001.

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50076. "Special tax" does not include fees. As used in this article, "special tax" shall not include any fee which does not exceed the reasonable cost of providing the service or regulatory activity for which the fee is charged and which is not levied for general revenue purposes.

Construction.—This section provides a narrow exception to Article XIIIA, Section 4 of the Constitution. Any fee which falls within the definition of a service or regulatory fee, i.e., one which can be shown to be reasonably related to the cost of the service for which it is imposed, is not a "special tax" under Article XIIIA, Section 4 and thus, is exempt from the two-thirds voter approval requirement. However, the local agency seeking to avoid the general rule has the burden of establishing that its fee fits the exception. Beaumont Investors v. Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District, 165 Cal.App.3d 227. The determination of whether a particular fee is a development fee or a special tax under Article XIIIA, Section 4 is a question of law, and a local agency seeking to impose such a fee bears the burden of demonstrating that the fee it seeks to impose is excepted from the two-thirds voter approval requirement. Carlsbad Municipal Utility District v. QLC. Corporation, 2 Cal.App.4th 479. A mitigation fee payable by a developer as a condition of a city's approval of land-use changes allowing building is not a special tax under Article XIIIA, Section 4 of the Constitution or under this Section. Ehrlich v. City of Culver City, 15 Cal.App.4th 1737. A city seeking to establish that its fire hydrant fee fit the exemption did not meet its burden of proof where the record failed to establish whether the method employed by the city for determining the amount of the fee bore a fair and reasonable relation to the payer's benefit from the fee. Bixel Associates v. City of Los Angeles, 216 Cal.App.3d 1208.

50076.5. Development fees. [Stats. 1988, Ch. 418, in effect January 1, 1989, renumbered the section as Section 66017.]

50077. Procedures. (a) Except as provided in Section 7282 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, the legislative body of any city, county, or district may, following notice and public hearing, propose by ordinance or resolution the adoption of a special tax. The ordinance or resolution shall include the type of tax and rate of tax to be levied, the method of collection, and the date upon which an election shall be held to approve the levy of the tax. The proposition shall be submitted to the voters of the city, county, or district, or a portion thereof, and, upon the approval of two-thirds of the votes cast by voters voting upon the proposition, the city, county, or district may levy the tax.

(b) The legislative body of a city, or district, may provide for the collection of the special tax in the same manner and subject to the same penalty as, or with, other charges and taxes fixed and collected by the city, or district, or, by agreement with the county, by the county on behalf of the city, or district. If the special taxes are collected by the county on behalf of the city, or district, the county may deduct its reasonable costs incurred for the service before remittal of the balance to the city.

(c) The legislative body of a local agency which is conducting proceedings for the incorporation of a city, the formation of a district, a change of organization, a reorganization, a change of organization of a city, or a municipal reorganization, may propose by ordinance or resolution the adoption of a special tax in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (a) on behalf of an affected city or district.

(d) As used in this section "district" means an agency of the state, formed pursuant to general law or special act, for the local performance of governmental or proprietary functions within limited boundaries.

History.—Stats. 1980, Ch. 672, in effect July 20, 1980, added "or district" after "county," in the first sentence, "or resolution" after "ordinance" in the first and second sentences and, "or district, or a portion thereof" after "county", "vote cast by" before "voters" and "or district" before "may levy" in the third sentence of subdivision (a); added "or district" after "city" in the first sentence and after "on behalf of the city" in the second sentence in subdivision (b); and added subdivision (c). Stats. 1982, Ch. 1420, in effect January 1, 1983, added subdivision (c) and relettered former subdivision (c) as subdivision (d). Stats. 1985, Ch. 529, effective January 1, 1986, added "Except as provided . . . " before "the legislative body" in first sentence of subdivision (a); and substituted "the" for "such" throughout the section.

50077.5. Judicial review. (a) Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 860) of Title 10 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure applies to any judicial action or proceeding to validate, attack, review, set aside, void, or annul an ordinance or resolution approved by the voters pursuant to this article on or after January 1, 1986, that levies a special tax, or modifies or amends an existing ordinance or resolution that levies a special tax. If an ordinance or resolution adopted pursuant to this article on or after January 1, 1986, provides for an automatic adjustment in the rate or amount of any special tax approved by the voters pursuant to this article, and the automatic adjustment increases the amount of the tax, any action or proceeding to attack, review, set aside, void, or annul the increase shall be commenced within 60 days of the effective date of the increase.

(b) Any appeal from the final judgment in an action or proceeding brought pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be filed within 30 days after entry of the judgment.

History.—Added by Stats. 1985, Ch. 985, effective January 1, 1986.

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