Santiago Hills landscaping assessment increased

By Sentry Staff


An overlay assessment to cover community landscaping and maintenance in Santiago Hills will increase by two percent in fiscal year 2017.

The overlay, approved by Santiago Hills property owners last June, augments an annual landscape assessment levied in 1987 that no longer generated enough money to serve the neighbor-hood’s landscaping and common area maintenance costs.  That original assessment had reached its maximum of $369.44 per single-family residence many years ago.  When voters approved the overlay assessment, they also allowed for an annual cost-of-living increase, not to exceed two percent.

The increase translates to $4.70 per single-family residence, with individual homeowners paying $239.70, starting next year.  The overlay assessment, combined with the original 1987 fees, totals $609.14.

Santiago Hills is one of two landscape maintenance assessment districts in the city. (Sycamore Crossing is the other.)  Unlike communities with homeowners associations, area landscaping is taken care of by the City of Orange, using fees assessed via property tax bills.  Total revenues for 2017 will be $925,994, and include capital replacement costs and a dedicated reserve.

The city notified homeowners in May that the increase would be considered at the June 14 council meeting.  City Clerk Mary Murphy reported that no protests were received either by email or by letter, and no one from the community attended the meeting to register their opposition or support for the two percent hike.

Sycamore Crossing homeowners will pay the same fees as last year. The $293.08 per unit assessment is the maximum allowed.