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By Eric Heinz
On June 29, the Grand Jury of Orange County published findings and recommendations regarding Mello-Roos Community Funded Districts that could shape the ways in which accounting and transparency for the tax revenue is handled. The taxes pay for school infrastructure and projects within Capistrano Unified School District and entities in Orange County.
The Grand Jury’s findings stated, “There is a lack of transparency to homeowners relative to how CFD funds are being used. There does not seem to be appropriate oversight and auditing of CFDs and special tax expenditures within the County of Orange, (and) while the assumption is that the CFD debt would be repaid in a finite period of time, there is a mechanism available to controlling entities to extend debt obligations and thereby extend the CFD special tax in perpetuity.”
According to the document, CUSD taxpayers within Mello-Roos districts have tens of millions of dollars of outstanding construction obligations.
The CUSD Board of Trustees will meet Aug. 12 to discuss the taxation rates for each Mello-Roos CFD for the next fiscal year. Recommendations from the findings for each local agency that established a CFD included creating an oversight committee and an audit committee to provide an “independent and transparent view of the manner in which CFD funds are being expended.” Additionally, the recommendations stated an audit report should be made available to the taxpayers as well as a website for taxpayers to monitor the expenditures.