Anyone looking for a home in the Great Park will have new insights on where their property tax dollars go after the Irvine City Council unanimously created new disclosure requirements at their meeting last Tuesday.
The taxes have come under scrutiny from local residents in the last two years following a Voice of OC series that outlined how millions in special Mello-Roos taxes go to the Great Park every year, oftentimes with residents not knowing what they’re funding.
[Read: The Great Park Tax: How Irvine Homeowners are Paying for the City’s Big Dreams]
The city council and FivePoint Holdings, the park developer, decide when and how to spend the funds, choosing from an agreed upon list.
Under the original disclosures which were obtained by Voice of OC last year, homeowners were told about a special property tax placed on their homes, but the disclosures never stated the funds would go toward Great Park development or even the precise amount of the tax for that home.
To view a copy of those disclosures, click here.
When Voice of OC canvassed the neighborhood, not one homeowner knew their tax dollars were going to fund projects at the park.
[Read: Irvine’s Great Park Residents Often Times Don’t Know What Their Special Taxes Fund]
Now, the disclosures will specifically state– in bold 14-point print — the total amount of the annual tax.
Homeowners will also be notified that money goes to the Great Park’s construction, including a list of all amenities the money can be used for and a link to the City of Irvine’s website discussing how the tax works.
Realtors and developers will be required to present the documents before the homes are sold, and the same requirements will be in place for anyone looking to resell their house to a new buyer.
“The sellers will be highly motivated to make the disclosure, because failing to do so will be at their own risk,” said City Attorney Jeff Melching at the council’s Tuesday meeting. “If they know to do it, they will do it, just because it’s in their interest to do it.”
Patricia Kennedy, a resident who bought a home in the Great Park in 2013, thanked the council for their action to make it clearer what homeowners were actually signing up for.
“At that time, they didn’t have finalized documents. The documents I have looked at were very ambiguous and not detailed like this,” Kennedy said at the meeting. “I’m glad to see this is finally getting done.”
Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NBiesiada.
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