The Escondido City Council held a public hearing on May 19 to discuss a proposed fee increase for landscape-maintenance costs in the area located west of the El Norte Parkway and Rees Road intersection. Ballots were mailed to property owners in the area to approve or reject the proposed assessment.
“I’m curious what I’m getting out of it — as a taxpayer and property owner,” said Lisa Prazeau. “What am I getting out of this increase? You’re increasing my taxes, but are you going to be increasing the maintenance on the property?”
According to Escondido mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler, the landscape zones are revenue neutral. “Whatever we bring in is what is spent on the property,” she said. Another citizen expressed concern that upon reviewing the ballot he received in the mail, voting yes on the fee increase would also give the City the right to increase the fees on an annual basis, based on the Consumer Price Index.
“I don’t disagree with raising the rates, but I am a little bit concerned about it increasing on an annual basis,” said Scott S. He added that he would be more in favor of a plan for citizens to continue to vote on the increases annually.
“It is our experience that once you set a rate it is very difficult to increase them...in fact that rarely ever happens,” responded Pfeiler.