Last updated May 4, 2017
The Rumor Control Page is intended to dispel rumors and provide accurate information. Let's find the real facts.
The Palos Verdes Library District published a helpful guide to distinguish fake news and determine news accuracy.
Want to see a rumor addressed here? Please fill out input box below.
Rumor: The City can receive a greater share of the 1% of property taxes paid by property owners.
True. However, to change the apportionment of property taxes received by a City like Palos Verdes Estates, statewide legislation to reallocate tax revenue among all cities throughout the state would be necessary.
The approval of Proposition 13 in 1978 established that property taxes are limited to 1% of the property value assessed at the time of purchase. After voters approved Proposition 13, the apportionment of property tax revenue was set by Assembly Bill 8 (AB 8). The process of property tax collection and allocation is based on State statutes that apply to all counties and all cities in the State.
Because of the limitation of property tax established by Proposition 13, if the City received a greater percentage of the 1% paid in property taxes, it would mean that another public agency or agencies would receive less funding. The establishment of a 1% maximum property tax rate by Proposition 13 created a property tax revenue “pie” from which all public agencies share. A greater portion of this property tax pie going to the City or to another public agency necessarily reduces the share of other public agencies. Changing the allocation of the 1% distribution will require repeal or change of AB 8 approved by the Legislature and Governor.
Changes to a public agency’s share of property tax revenue only occurs when a public agency takes over the provision of services from another public agency. An example would be if a city were to take over the Library District. The city’s share of the 1% in property taxes would be increased by the apportionment previously allocated to the Library as compensation for the provision of those services.
Rumor: The City Manager is the second highest paid City Manager in the state, the highest paid City Manager per capita, and has a $250,000 salary per year.
False. According to Transparent CA and CA State Controller’s Government Compensation in California, the highest and second highest paid City Manager is an employee of the City of Escondido and San Jose, respectively. The highest paid City Manager per capita is an employee of the City of Vernon. According to the League of California Cities, there are 482 cities in California.
Per the employment agreement with the City, the 2016 annual salary is $213,180.
Rumor: The City will eliminate its Police Department and contract with the Los Angeles County’s Sheriff Department for law enforcement services.
False. The City is committed to maintaining essential public safety services and specifically the Police Department, and while many residents express support for the City’s Police Department, many difficult choices will be necessary for determining the mix of budget reductions, reserves and other funding for balancing the budget. Everything will be on the table for consideration; when the City is facing a 36% reduction in operating costs and position vacancies cannot be filled, no individual department can be spared an impact. The City Council will be provided with options for utilizing fiscal reserves, funds appropriated for capital improvement projects, and funds designated for equipment replacement combined with decision packages consisting of costs and service level reductions for balancing the budget.
The City Council will resume their discussion on balancing the FY 2017/18 budget at the April 25th City Council meeting. To receive notification of when the meeting agenda and staff report are posted, sign up at http://www.pvestates.org/how-do-i/sign-up-for-e-notifications.
Rumor: Growth in property taxes will eventually allow the special tax to be eliminated if spending is carefully managed.
As a result of these limitations on growth in assessed value and fixing the City’s share of the 1% tax rate, property tax revenues are seldom able to keep pace with increases in operational expenses. Unless there is a great deal of new development or annexation of additional territories, growth in property taxes, even over long periods, will not be able to fill a $4.8 million hole in the budget. Based on the 1% tax rate under Prop 13 and the City’s 11.3% share of that tax rate, the addition of $10 million in new or added value will add $11,300 in revenue to the City’s general fund. In order to add $4.8 million in new revenue that would replace the special tax, an additional $4.25 billion in value would have to be added.
Given that homes in the City turn over at about the same rate, there is no way to estimate how many homes that have not been sold for many years and how many homes that have been purchased fairly recently will sell in a particular year.
Generally, value is added to a property when square footage is added. The remodeling of a kitchen or bathroom doesn’t typically cause the Assessor to add assessed value to a property even if the remodel costs many thousands of dollars. These remodels are considered as added improvements. Replacing wood fences with block walls, adding a swimming pool or enclosed patios would cause an increase in valuation.
The FY14/15-15/16 Building Activity Report provides additional information on how much the City received for building permits and development on average. Fees for improvements and changes to existing homes and recently sold homes are incorporated into the General Fund (Page 17, FY16-18 Budget).
Over the past 15 years, assessed values in the City have increased by 100.6%. The growth per year varied, however, on average, growth has been approximately 6.7% per year. The growth in assessed value takes into account values added by the annual inflation adjustment (2%); new construction, transfers of ownership and all other forms of improvements. In order to generate $4.8 million in revenue to the City, an additional $4.2 billion in assessed value would be needed. Based on the current assessed value of $6.75 billion and a growth rate of 6.7% per year, it would take approximately 7 or 8 years to achieve the valuation necessary to generate tax revenue sufficient to fund another $4.8 million in operating costs.
This time projection is absent increases to Fire and Paramedic contract cost increases averaging 3% a year, and other concurrent cost increases that regularly are necessary for maintaining City operations and services. The cost of City services for fuel, equipment, technology, facility repairs, capital projects, contract services, State mandates, salaries and benefits, and insurance regularly increase. It is unclear if or when the current revenue shortfall can be realistically covered by property tax revenues.
For more information regarding property taxes, visit the City Finances page.
Rumor: The Butcher Hill project will block/close Via Valmonte.
False. The City is not aware of any plans or proposals associated with this or any project that would involve closing or blocking Via Valmonte. Specifically, the developer’s traffic report mentions nothing about this. To view information such as the project plan and other studies, please visit the project's page on the Torrance City website. For updates, please visit the Neighboring Projects of Interest page.
Rumor: The City sold parklands to the Luglianis.
False. The City did not sell parkland. More information on this issue can be found on the City’s Legal Matters webpage.
In connection with the settlement agreement, the City conveyed the Via Panorama parcel to the Homes Association. As part of that transaction, the City also retained an Open Space Easement over the parcel, an emergency access road, and utility easements. In exchange, the City accepted ownership of Lots C & D for the sole purpose of preserving them as parklands.
More information on this issue can be found on the City’s Legal Matters webpage.
Rumor: The City spends a significant amount on employee overtime.
True. When staff, primarily police officers and dispatchers are on leave, whether it is for vacation, training, disability, or medical, overtime is necessary to back-fill the vacancy and provide public safety, officer safety and sustain operations. Over the past three years, there have been many personnel on leave resulting in significant overtime. In addition, extra work for planned or unplanned events also results in overtime. A few include the Police Department’s response to the spike in burglaries (2015), Lunada Bay surfing (2016), and bicyclists (2016).
Rumor: The City is not following any guidelines to determine cell tower locations.
False. To have a better understanding of how the City can play a role in regulating cell tower locations, please see the Wireless Telecommunication Facilities FAQ.
State and Federal laws, and a variety of Court rulings prescribe and limit all cities’ ability to influence the locations for cell sites. In fact, cities can only control “time, place and manner,” and under, the Palos Verdes Estates Municipal Code (PVEMC) Chapter 18.55, the City specifically regulates the location, design, and aesthetics of wireless facilities or commercial antennas. An enhanced regulation is currently before the Planning Commission for discussion and more information can be found on the Planning & Building Department’s page.
Rumor: The City will be installing additional traffic signage and bicycle lanes.
False. The City does not have plans to install additional traffic signage and bicycle lanes.
Since the Roadway Safety Master Plan application failed to receive grant funding, City staff will be evaluating alternatives for how to move the conversation about roadway signage and enforcement forward. At this time, however, the City is addressing the failure of Measure D that resulted in the loss of 25% of the City's revenue. Therefore when time and resources permit, options will be developed. Then, it will be presented to the City Council for consideration. When this takes place, all interested individuals will have the opportunity to provide input.
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Rumor: City staff has control over the content of City Council meeting agendas.
False. Staff prepares meeting agendas in consultation with the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem. Click here to learn more about meeting guidelines and operating guidelines.