Mare Island resident Daniel Glaze enjoys the relative tranquility and beauty of life in the Vallejo enclave.
What he doesn’t like are the unfair fees associated with home ownership there. Glaze and its neighbors are organizing a protest outside City Hall on Tuesday to urge Vallejo City Council to cut annual costs related to living on the island.
According to Glaze, when Vallejo opened Mare Island to residents in 2002, the city was trying to figure out how to handle things like infrastructure, school budget, and parks – things that are generally related to property tax. But separate fees have been added for homeowners on Mare Island associated with Community Facilities Districts, or CFDs. These CFD fees stem from a law passed in California in the early 1980s as an additional way for communities to collect income for public works and services.
CFDs are written about deeds in the fine print – but Glaze is no stranger to the fine print.
Glaze, a retired engineer at Shell Oil, estimates these fees could add $ 4,000 to $ 5,000 per annum per homeowner, of which $ 3 million goes to the police and fire departments, something he thinks the rest of Vallejo doesn’t have to pay extra for.
“Incredible,” he said, “we pay over $ 20,000 for every response from the Vallejo Fire Department to the island.”
In theory, once income (i.e. sales tax) on the island increases, the homeowner’s costs should eventually come down. But if it continues like this, Glaze believes it won’t happen until 2072.
As it works now, Mare Island property owners are paying up 2 percent each year. The city calculates how much businesses will pay each year based on this home fee income.
The home rental fees are added together, subtracted from the city’s total budgeted spending, and the rest is collected from six other categories that include sales tax. As home fees rise more than business taxes over time, the homeowner’s share in the pie chart inflates as businesses and other entities pay less and less.
Glaze estimates the city’s household spending with these fees is about $ 4 million a year, “and has generally stayed there,” he said. He also claims that the town and property sellers told homeowners that these CFD fees “would go away in a few years” and “would go down with every home sold.”
Vallejo has placed many fiduciary hopes on the island of Mare in the past, depending on “booms” in business and housing. Glaze believes that maybe this was the thought that went into topping up CFDs in the hopes that it would be a temporary fix to spending problems.
But for a retired man, Glaze says he can’t wait until 2072 to witness a planned sunset the city is promising.
“I am optimistic that the city council will listen to us,” he told the Times-Herald.
Glaze said he and his neighbors have received “compassionate” responses from the agency, as well as Southern Land developers poised to build an ambitious development on the island.
The Times-Herald contacted city officials and Southern Land officials to inquire about CFDs on Mare Island but had received no response by Wednesday’s press deadline.