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La Quinta asks some residents to pay for landscaping

By Megan Terlecky, News Channel 3 Anchor & Reporter, megan.terlecky@kesq.com
Published On: Feb 13 2014 07:03:19 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 13 2014 07:09:08 PM CST
LA QUINTA, Calif. -

No one wants to pay higher taxes, but that didn't stop the City of La Quinta from asking.  When the state took away redevelopment money, it forced the city to ask homeowners for more green to keep La Quinta green.

The proposed property tax increase would to pay for landscaping around about a dozen developments.  The city paid for it for the past 15-20 years but because of the economic downturn, the city needs help from homeowners.

"The loss of the redevelopment agency really can't be underestimated, it was over $60 million a year that the city was getting," said La Quinta Public Works director Tim Jonasson. 

It was money that paid for plants and flowers around north La Quinta neighborhoods.  

"There are some parkways that are currently under city maintenance primary on Adams, Fred Warning, Dune Palms and Miles that are frankly showing their age they all are about 15 to 20 years old we've done a lot of maintenance on them to try and improve them but they can only be improved to a certain level.

Normally the landscaping is taken care of by HOAs but these communities don't have that and the city says they no longer can foot the bill. 

"Right now we are just asking the question basically and just seeing if there is a willingness to be part of the solution," said Jonasson.

That solution would be an increase in property taxes any where from $25 a year to $600. 

"At the lower level what we would be looking at is mostly being able to maintain what we've got right we wouldn't be able to do a lot of the plant replacement like in years past, if you go up all the way to the $600 level that is where we get into putting in all new irrigation, all new plants a lot of different things that we've heard from residents that they would like to see out there," said Jonasson.

People we spoke with say no way.

"I'm on permanent disability, so social security they only give me so much money a month and that doesn't help any, so that's the biggest problem I have," says resident Rick Driesbach. 

"Some of the people that I talked to are really dead set against it to the fact that they would even move," said resident Lindsey Hunt.

But the city says even the higher tax would be comparable to what other homeowners pay in HOA dues. 

"It's pretty reasonable especially considering it includes all new improvements out there," said Jonasson.

"I don't agree with it, the reason why I moved into this area was because I didn't want to pay any HOA fees or any extra tax fees," said Hunt.

"Don't want to pay anymore that is why I moved from Newport Beach to here, I thought id be getting a good deal and a great time," said Driesbach.

Opinions like those is why the city sent out surveys to the about 1600 homes affected

The soonest the tax increase could be on the ballot would be June, but keep in mind, if the survey results show a majority of homeowners don't want pay higher taxes, then it's very likely that will be the end of it. 

For more information about which neighborhoods are affected click here. 

Residents apposed to the increase have set up a website, click here to view it.