Municipal Finance: Fees, Taxes & Assessments

SMW advises public agencies on mechanisms for bridging the public funding gap resulting from the loss of redevelopment; Propositions 26, 13, and 218; and the sharp decline in federal and state financial assistance to local agencies. The firm has broad expertise in designing impact studies to demonstrate the need for development impact fees and regulatory fees, drafting fee and tax legislation, defending challenges to these programs in the courts, and establishing assessment and Mello-Roos Community Facilities Districts. Examples of the firm’s work in this field include:

rendering courtesy of Pelli Clark Pelli Architects
Planned Rooftop Park for
Transbay Transit Center
  • Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA): SMW was assessment district counsel for two assessment districts involving over 100,000 properties, drafted development fee ordinances, and advised SAFCA in establishing a Community Facilities District to finance the local share of flood control improvements and environmental enhancements and mitigation.
  • San Francisco Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA): The firm is helping to develop a Community Facilities District that will require developers to finance a portion of a new multi-modal Transbay Transit Center.
  • Sacramento Development Impact Fee: SMW drafted an ordinance requiring developers to pay a fee for affordable housing and successfully defended the ordinance in a landmark case, Commercial Builders v. City of Sacramento, 941 F.2d 872 (9th Cir. 1991).
  • San Buenaventura Assessment District: SMW successfully defended a challenge to an assessment district to fund dredging of boat channels in a waterfront subdivision.