A special assessment district, the Mission Dolores Green Benefit District, is proposed for our neighborhood and a surrounding area. It would have its own special assessment paid by all property owners in the district (estimated at $150 to $300 per year for an average size property.) The creation of this district requires a petition then a vote of property owners. DHIC has not taken a position on the GBD and urges residents to be informed on this important decision.
DHIC Board members, Hans Kolbe and Bruce Muncil, collaborated on this summary of the pros and cons for a green benefit district. Please educate yourself. The next steps in forming a green benefit district are: collecting signatures on a petition to authorize a vote on a green benefit district and then (for all property owners in the proposed district) a vote for/against the green benefit district.
- The GBD provides a long term framework for neighborhood activities and improvements through a fixed funding mechanism.
2. The GBD will bring together and amplify the voices of neighbors and neighborhood groups. The GBD will not compete or interfere with existing groups but support them.
3. The GBD activities will be prioritized and controlled by neighbors, merchants, and neighborhood groups.
4. Initial Priorities as determined by neighborhood surveys and group meetings are:
- Enhanced maintenance and safety of our neighborhoods public spaces
- Small scale greening improvements such as sidewalk and median gardens
- Improved pedestrian and bicycle safety
- Special services around business corridors: 18th Street and Valencia Street
5. For the DHIC area the GBD will put an emphasis on safety and cleanliness of the hillside stairs (lighting, power washing) and supporting the garden committees activities and possibly attempting new gardening areas currently not maintained by city or neighbors
6. The GBD will organize and support neighborhood activities honoring our historical legacy and engage in shaping our future
7. The GBD will be a strong advocate towards the City and its agencies and hold them accountable for providing their baseline services. The GBD will not make up for a shortfall of city services.
8. The GBD will be professionally organized and managed. Its spending and priorities are public and auditable.
9. The GBD will have stature to attract significant outside funding from private businesses and foundations, goal 30% of budget.
For more information go to the Mission Dolores Green Benefit District website. And for an example of existing GBD in the Potrero Hill/Dogpatch neighborhood see: https://www.potreroview.net/dogpatch-northwest-potrero-hill-green-benefit-district-pursues-success-through-partnerships/
- GBD expands on City services already available now, at additional cost to our current taxes. Assessment is ostensibly an extra tax to cover what we already pay the City.
- Implementation not democratic: Final vote only requires a majority of votes cast, not a majority of all property owners. Votes are weighted by lot size and building square footage, giving City Government properties (Parks, DPW, Police, Fire) and affluent residential properties a larger block of votes over average property owners. Not one vote for one property.
- Creates another bureaucracy in addition to the City departments. Can create confusion as to who is called and for what services. Why do we need a $120,000+/yr GBD manager when we have our very responsive Supervisor Mandelman?
- Three other SF Neighborhoods have rejected GBD proposals: Inner Sunset, Greater Buena Vista, and Golden Gate Heights all rejected GBD because residents determined GBDs had more cons than pros.
- The Mission Dolores Neighborhood Association opposes the proposed Castro/Mission Dolores Green Benefit District: www.NoGBDtax.org
- Assessment has no current provision for relief for seniors or limited income: Unlike supplemental taxes which exempt seniors, by law GBD assessment cannot. Additional parcel assessments/taxes reduce affordable housing viability for long term vulnerable fixed income senior residents.