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Mt. Diablo bond repayment plan may be overly optimistic

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, July 2nd, 2012 at 6:17 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

The Contra Costa County Tax Assessor released new data today that shows the Mt. Diablo school district’s Measure C bond finance plan may be overly optimistic.

Here’s a breakdown of dips in property tax revenue for Mt. Diablo district cities in 2012-13, according to Gus Kramer:

Clayton, 4 percent; Concord, 4.6 percent; Martinez, 1.5 percent; Pleasant Hill, 2.3 percent; Pittsburg, .9 percent; Walnut Creek, 0.7 percent.

Times reporter Lisa Vorderbrueggen has requested data specific to the Mt. Diablo school district, but has not yet received it. Still, based on the percentages above, it’s likely the district won’t meet the revenue projections included in its Measure C bond financing plan shared with the Times in April: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=123715065

This shows shows the district expected property tax revenues to drop by 1.19 percent in 2012, remain flat in 2013, grow by 2 percent in 2014-15, then grow by 4 percent a year through 2010.

This was a dramatic change from the financing plan presented to the Times by district adviser Jon Isom in April 2010, which estimated flat property tax revenues in 2012, 2 percent growth in 2013, 4 percent growth in 2015, then 5 percent annual growth from 2015-2052: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=123715043

On April 23, the Mt. Diablo school board voted to increase the tax rate above the originally promised $60 per $100,000 in assessed valuation for its combined 2002 and 2010 Measure C bonds. According to information presented to the board, trustees told the public that tax rates would likely rise to $89 per $100,000 when the first $150 million was sold and to $95 in 2015, when another $77 million is sold: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=5273&mtgId=341

However, the district never shared its growth projections as part of its presentation. Now, it looks as though those projections may be overly optimistic and could cause the tax rate to go higher than the public was told.

Do you think the district should have shared its growth projections with the public before voting to increase the tax rate?

JULY 3 UPDATE: Here are the preliminary figures for the Mt. Diablo school district, according to the assessor’s office: Mt. Diablo Unified School District’s property assessment roll for 2012-2013 is $28.54 billion, down from $29.2 billion in 2011-2012, or down 2.23 percent.

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