Jeff Smith noon, March 8
The After-MAD in Golden Hill
Dozens of South Park and Golden Hill residents crammed inside the Golden Hill Youth Center for a meeting of the Greater Golden Hill Community Development Corporation (GGHCDC), the group that administers the local maintenance assessment district.
It was the first meeting since a judge declared the district invalid on September 22. Councilmembers Todd Gloria and David Alvarez were also in attendance to answer questions and hear from the community.
The MAD has divided the community since its formation in 2007. Since, the two sides showed up at committee meetings and bickered about the need and legality of the maintenance assessment district. Residents in opposition were unhappy over inaccuracies in the engineer's report. They also objected to GGHCDC's handling of the MAD, saying it squandered revenues on overhead and mismanagement. Those residents in favor said the $75 they paid on their annual property tax bill was well worth it. They touted the accomplishments that the MAD has had the community, the 48,831 square feet of graffiti that MAD crews removed, the 13,415 bags of trash that were collected, and the 5,121 couches and other large items that were carted away from alleys.
Those positions were repeated on Thursday evening. More than 30 residents spoke both for and against the MAD. Some focused on past accomplishments. Others spoke to the shoddy engineers report.
But what started out as the same back and forth eventually evolved into a discussion about how the community should move forward.
Former MAD oversight committee chair David Skillman said the community should start a non-profit and use donations from the community to remove trash and graffiti. Others suggested that the City start looking into forming a Business Improvement District or even creating a new MAD.
That option, responded councilmember Gloria, would require $50,000 for a new engineers report and would take at least 18 months to get off the ground.
"MAD's are very, very valuable tools," Gloria said. "We are deficient in some of the base line city services, let alone higher level of services and a MAD is a vehicle to reach that higher level of services."
Gloria said that the City will hold a public hearing in the coming weeks to officially dissolve the assessment district. Neither he nor councilmember Alvarez knew when the residents may be reimbursed.
Juan Perez, manager of the County Auditor's Property Tax Division, says that because the county will not have the judge's final order then Golden Hill and South Park residents will need to pay the assessment on this years property tax bill. That money will then be transferred to the City to be reimbursed. As for refunds from previous years, Perez said that is the City's responsbility.