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Invalid Property Tax Assessments Remain Unpaid to Thousands of Property Owners in Carmichael

The link to the application for assessment refund: Carmichael-RPD-Asmt-Refund-Application-8-9-16-1

 

The following is a copy of the letter sent to all Sacramento County Supervisors regarding: Refunds to Carmichael Taxpayers –

Sacramento County Taxpayers Association, et al v. County of Sacramento, Carmichael Recreation and Park District, et al,

Sacramento Superior Court Case No. 34-2014-80001869.

Sacramento County Supervisors Peters, Kennedy, Frost, Nottoli and Serna:

It has been nearly two years since Superior Court Judge Christopher E. Krueger ruled that the Carmi- chael Recreation and Park District (CRPD) violated state law by charging an illegal assessment on approximately 13,000 residential home owners, apartment and commercial properties for the tax years 2014-15 and 2015-16. To date, it is estimated that less than 10 percent of the more than $1.3 million collected has been returned to taxpayers. This latter figure has also now increased with the addition of ongoing interest.

As the Presidents of the statewide Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the Sacramento Tax- payers Association, we are formally requesting that the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors direct the County of Sacramento to issue a refund to all affected residential and business owners, who were subject to the unlawful collection of this property tax assessment over the foregoing two tax-year period.

CRPD’s property tax assessments were held to be invalid in accordance with the Sacramento County Superior Court decision, Sacramento County Tax- payers Association, et al. v. County of Sacramento, Carmichael Recreation and Park District, et al., Case No. 34-2014-80001869, court order dated May 19, 2016. The ruling by the Court negated the assess- ment on the grounds of numerous violations of the

California State Constitution (Proposition 218), de- signed to protect taxpayers by limiting the methods by which local governments can both establish or increase taxes, fees and property tax assessments such as the subject case. Please refer to the Court’s decision for further information regarding these thousands of unlawful property tax assessments.

Currently, taxpayers must apply for a refund through a circuitous, arduous, and complex written refund process that also includes disclosing other- wise confidential, non-public full property tax bills for these two separate tax years. Many people do not even have bills going back several years; that pro- cess becomes another refund barrier, or disincentive.

Any purported refund process was designed to fail and limit the refunds rightfully due your taxpay- ers. In fact there was only one undated (and per- sonally unaddressed and without property refer- ence) cryptic letter that was apparently mailed to some, but possibly not all, taxpayers.

The letter, sent in the fall of 2016, contained the following incorrect and ambiguous reference of an application deadline: “Applicants are encour- aged to mail a completed refund application with required supporting documents by November 30, 2016 as directed on the form.” (SCI Consultants, which oversees the refund process, confirmed the application deadline to be June 30, 2018 for FY 2014-2015 assessments; and June 30, 2019 for FY 2015-2016 assessments).

This is a serious matter affecting more than 13,000 of your taxpayers, and should be diligently addressed now.

As background, the proponents’ campaign never disclosed the actual thousand dollar-plus levies on businesses, apartments and commercial properties. Further, nowhere in any written materials were the

true facts disclosed. The assessment barely passed, and with a related vote count largely out of public view. This issue is not about parks, but fairness and accuracy by our local government and their proxies.

Additionally, information on the taxpayers, and amounts paid, are all computerized and readily avail- able. The County was able to originally bill every- one within CRPD boundaries, and we only ask that refunds be coordinated in a like process. This should not be politically complicated if there is a will.

Property taxpayers within CRPD boundaries who were unlawfully assessed and had previously paid an additional direct levy tax on their residential or commercial properties, are entitled to a full refund. The simplest way is for the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors to order forthwith the return of these already-paid property tax funds to your 13,000 constituents and taxpayers. After all, they followed what they were told was the law.

Thank you for your timely attention and cooperation. Please do not hesitate to contact either of us should you have any questions.

KATY GRIMES

President
Sacramento Taxpayers Association

JON COUPAL

President
Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

The Sacramento Taxpayers Association is a member-supported, 501(c) 4 non-profit corporation, with the mission to bring about more accountable, effective, efficient, reliable government.To join and attend monthly meetings, please visit www.sacramentotaxpayers.com

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