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The mess over a faulty engineer's report which resulted in thousands of downtown residents being overcharged hundreds of thousands of dollars in assessments for the downtown Property-based Improvement District (PBID) is nearly over.

The district provides downtown neighborhoods "enhanced" services such as graffiti abatement, sidewalk maintenance, and “safety ambassadors” on Segways, among other items.

Last month, on March 13, the City Attorney and SCI Consulting Group, the company that developed the engineer's report, agreed to settle the lawsuit that the City filed in Orange County Superior Court in October of last year.

This coming Tuesday, city councilmembers will be asked to approve what is now an undisclosed settlement.

If approved, it will be an end to what has been years of broken promises from the City of San Diego to residents, the few that knew, who were overcharged on their annual property bills.

In 2010, the Reader first reported the news of the errant assessments. Since, some residents have spent hundreds of hours hounding city officials and city councilmembers to notify residents of the mistake and to start issuing refunds.

They were somewhat successful.

Last month, the City began issuing partial refunds to the people that filled out claim forms with the City, as reported by KPBS. Even then, however, the City Attorney and city council have decided to stick to their guns by rejecting any claim more than four-years old, past the statute of limitations for claims.

As to whether the City will be receiving money from the settlement, and if all that money will go towards refunds for residents is unknown at this time.

Click the links below to read the court documents:

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/documents/2013/apr/14/city-vs-sci-consulting-settlement/ http://www.sandiegoreader.com/documents/2013/apr/14/city-vs-sci-consulting/

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oldcitizen April 15, 2013 @ 8:42 a.m.

Perhaps the citizen that first noticed the errors in the PBID assessment roll should be given a "whistle blower" bonus. If a citizen had not noticed the errors in the PBID assessment roll, thousands of San Diego residents would still be getting incorrect assessments and a lawsuit never would have been filed. It is unfortunate that the agency paid for over site of the current 10 year PBID contract didn't notice any errors. I guess they didn't believe that looking at the assessment roll was part of their job.


HonestGovernment April 15, 2013 @ 9:05 a.m.

I'm confident that the city didn't file a suit against SCI exclusively, or even mainly, because of the PBID errors. The suit against SCI was filed only after the city's loss in appellate court, re Golden Hill Neighborhood Assoc v. City, in which SCI was also involved. That court ruling against the city wasn't based on the errors in the assessment roll, which was part of the case, but about the entire process being illegal, rendering the inflated assessments moot.

As for the assessment roll errors: what SCI used was what they got from the city, and the rolls, filled with errors, were approved by the staff inside the Economic Development Dept and by the City Council. The errors were quite favorable to inflating the amounts that could be assessed, which was fine with the city, done on purpose.

SCI was complicit and facilitating, but the fraud and errors were designed by the city.


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