The CSD was formed pursuant to Resolution 95-03 by the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) of the County of Calaveras, State of California and pursuant to sections 56000 and 61000 et seq. of the California Government Code.
Our authority for performing governmental services is pursuant to California Government Code Section 61600 and such other services as the State Legislature may authorize the District to provide. The specific services to be provided and the manner in which they provided, are to be determined by the Community Services District Board of Directors. Services may include, but are not limited to, collection or disposal of storm water; collection or disposal of garbage or other refuse; protection against fire including weed abatement; mosquito abatement; street lighting; police department or other police protection, including restricting access to streets; maintaining libraries; maintaining, opening and surfacing streets; construction and improvement of culverts, gutters, drains, storage ponds and wetlands habitats; conversion of overhead electrical and communications facilities to underground locations; to contract for ambulance services; to provide transportation services; to abate graffiti; and provide for public recreation, including tennis courts, playgrounds, golf courses, swimming pools, or recreation buildings.
As with all governmental agencies, CSD activities are governed by the Brown Act.
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At the time of inception of a housing area, its developer must determine how the community – its roads, street lights, drainage systems, common landscaping, etc. will be maintained. In general, there are two options: a homeowners association or community services district.
In most cases, a homeowners association (“HOA”) is formed. It is staffed by a board elected by its membership and is funded solely by membership dues. The association is responsible for collecting the dues and must find ways to enforce payment in the event of delinquencies. The primary function of a homeowners association is to enforce the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (“CC&Rs) for the development and in cases of non-compliance, the HOA must resort to private legal action, funded by member dues.
A community services district (“CSD”) is very different. It is an official governmental agency, authorized by the State of California and operates like a city government. Its board members are elected by registered voters within the services district boundaries and just as a city council, a CSD can pass and enforce laws, set speed limits and annex land.
A CSD supports its districts infrastructure such as road maintenance, street lighting, weed and mosquito abatement, storm drains, etc. through an annual property tax assessment on each lot within the district, or through some other appropriate funding mechanisms, such as governmental bonds. Taxes are collected by the County, which can place a tax lien against a property and eventually take possession, in the event of delinquency.
A community services district also has the authority to assess usage fees and, with voter approval, levy additional property taxes. If the voting community desires, the CSD can increase taxes or raise a bond to fund libraries, parks, community centers, etc.
Thus, a CSD is much more powerful, and therefore much more complex than a homeowner’s association. In fact, a CSD can assume the responsibilities of an existing homeowners association, should that association cease to exist.
What is CSD Property?
The Saddle Creek Community Services District property includes our
- storm drains and
- landscape, wildlife and wetlands easements
The CSD has nothing to do with the operation of the
- golf course
- fitness center or
- the design of the development
Additionally, although not technically a CSD function, Greg Hebard and his staff is assisting Castle & Cooke in actively enforcing the Construction Site rules. All sites are required to post the site rules, and all new sites are required to sign an acknowledgement of those rules prior to beginning construction. Violations will result in warnings and/or fines.
Saddle Creek’s original developers, Hass & Haney set up the development as a Community Services District which was formally authorized in the summer of 1995. Castle & Cooke took over Saddle Creek in 1999, with the original owners remaining as partners in only the golf course.
The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors acted as the initial CSD Board of Directors, with the developers acting as consultants to the Board.
In 1999, the County commissioned Strong & Associates to analyze the costs of maintaining the Saddle Creek development. The results of that analysis were published in what is known as the “Strong Report” which should have been provided to all lot owners by Castle & Cooke. Copies of the Report can be obtained from Castle & Cooke.
The Strong Report determined that an annual property tax of $750 on subdivided lots would be sufficient to maintain Saddle Creek. Based on this Report, a special election was held on May 23, 2000 and the voters approved Measure D which implemented a $750 annual tax on subdivided lots and a $1 annual tax on un-subdivided parcels, beginning January 2001.
The first locally elected CSD Board took office in January 2002. In order to ensure a measure of continuity, approximately one half of the board members are up for re-election at a time. Board Members are by statute, paid a stipend of $100 per agendized meeting. Any other time spent by the Board Members on CSD business is uncompensated.