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Project News

Project News

Assessment District 12
In June, 2004, property owners approved a ballot measure calling for the MSWD Board of Directors to form Assessment District 12. AD12 will provide for the expansion of the MSWD sewer collection system to virtually all of the MSWD service area. The total assessment is estimated at $28 million.

Documents Related to AD12
What is an Assessment District?
An Assessment District is a financing arrangement between property owners and a local government agency (County, City, Water District, etc.) to allow for the construction of new public improvements or the maintenance of existing public improvements. The most common types of public improvements financed include roads, sidewalks, sewer facilities and water facilities.

Who pays for the public improvements within the Assessment District?
The local agency that forms the Assessment District raises the money to fund the public improvement by either selling bonds or committing to a loan. The agency then levies a special assessment against each parcel of land within the Assessment District. The owners of the assessed land repay the bonds or loan over a period of 15 to 30 years through annual assessments, which are included on the County's general property tax bill.

In the case of AD12, this funding pays for the sewer mainline and lateral (pipe that extends from the sewer mainline to property line) construction and includes MSWD sewer connection fees and street repair. The Assessment District covers everything in the public right-of-way. Property owners are responsible for 100% of the cost for the abatement of their septic system and the associated construction work performed to connect their private property to the sewer system.

How much will I pay and for how long?
When Assessment District 12 was formed, each single-family lot was assessed $4124, as was stated in the Assessment District 12 ballot measure. The special assessment is payable through annual installments over the life of the 20 year loan secured by MSWD. Property owners also have the option to prepay their assessment to avoid interest expense.

Other factors that affect the amount payable are the current costs of construction and the availability of Federal, State, County and other grants. Funds from these sources are usually granted in increments over the course of the assessment project. In the case of a previous MSWD Assessment District, over the course of 8 years MSWD acquired nearly $8 million in Federal and State grant funding to apply towards sewer system planning and construction, which helped offset the amounts payable by the residents in that district. MSWD has won permission to roll over funds remaining from that Assessment District into AD12 funding. So far MSWD has acquired $1.6 million in grant funding for AD12, and is continuing its efforts to acquire additional funding to offset the costs of construction.

What if I don't pay the assessment?
If a property owner does not pay the tax bill or the special assessment, the local government agency may foreclose on the property in order to collect the special assessments. The foreclosure process may begin as soon as 150 days after the delinquency occurs. The Assessment District's foreclosure powers exceed those of Counties which require a five- year period to pass before foreclosure can be initiated for delinquent property taxes.

Who authorized the Assessment District?
Proposition 218, the right to vote on taxes, requires the approval of the assessment by property owners who benefit from the public improvement. The residents of Desert Hot Springs and surrounding areas have recognized the importance of protecting their precious groundwater from the threat of contamination by septic systems and voted to approve AD11 in 2000 and to approve AD12 in 2004.

MSWD is currently developing the implementation approach to AD12 and strategies for obtaining the necessary grant funds. As implementation plans are finalized, this site will provide more detail.

How can I find out more about the special assessment on my property?
Contact us.