The City of Chino Hills currently has three Landscape and Lighting (L&L) Districts broken into 12 zones:
- Landscape and Lighting District 1 (L&L1) consisting of ten zones – Rolling Ridge, The Oaks / Green Valley, Commercial Property, The Oaks / Los Ranchos, Los Ranchos, Woodview, Butterfield Ranch / Rincon, Carbon Canyon, Carriage Hills, and Carbon Canyon;
- Landscape and Lighting District 2 (L&L2) – Los Serranos;
- Landscape and Lighting District 3 (L&L3) – Vellano.
The City currently collects revenue from properties in L&L Districts to fund expenditures from activities that provide a benefit to the properties in these districts. However, the City has not raised the assessment rates for L&L1
since 1996 when Proposition 218 was approved by the California voters, restricting local governments' ability to raise and impose assessments and property-related fees. Because L&L2
were formed after Proposition 218, assessment rates have increased.
Over the years, the stagnation of L&L1
revenue and increasing expenditures have created a revenue shortfall. As a result, several of the zones in L&L1
have used fund balance or relied on subsidies from the City’s General Fund to cover expenditures that exceeded revenue.
In an effort to develop a plan to solve the L&L1
revenue shortfall, in the summer of 2019, City staff from the Finance, Public Works and City Manager's departments met with three consulting companies with expertise in the administration of local funding tools to evaluate our landscape and lighting districts. Two companies were asked to submit comprehensive proposals. City staff evaluated the proposals based on the scope of work, company background/experience, staff qualifications and experience, reporting and cost effectiveness. Willdan Financial Services was selected by staff as having the best proposal based on the above criteria.
Willdan proposes to assist the City with a full evaluation of the improvements being provided within Landscape and Lighting District No. 1 (L&L1
) as well as similar improvements (arterial landscaping and parks) outside the district boundaries, currently being funded by the general fund, in order to identify and quantify possible funding options or modifications. These funding options/modifications may include but are not limited to re-engineering of the L&L1
Zones and potential balloting of those Zones for new or increased assessments and/or preliminarily formulating a potential citywide special tax [potentially either a parcel tax or Community Facilities District (CFD)] to possibly fund parks, arterial landscaping, open space areas, and/or trails. In conjunction with this evaluation, Willdan
will conduct a Proposition 218 review of the City’s other two Landscaping and Lighting Districts (L&L2
Vellano) and provide as warranted, recommendations for adjustments or modifications to the reports, budgets or assessments for those Districts.
Per Chino Hills Municipal Code Section 3.18.050.D., the City Manager has determined that a more formal RFP process is unnecessary for this agreement because Willdan
Financial Services is the best provider based on the ideas they proposed when they met with staff and their knowledge of the city due to a long-standing relationship. Additionally, staff did conduct an informal RFP process by reaching out to those entities that normally provide this type of service and evaluate these entities. The consultant will be working at the direction of the City Attorney’s Office given that there are significant legal considerations and limitations regarding Proposition 218 as it relates to assessment districts and taxes.