In response to pressure from parents and school officials, the city of Mountain View is proposing to give up as much as $13.6 million in Shoreline Community property taxes to local schools over three years.
The proposal from city staff amounts to less for schools than parents in the "Share Shoreline" campaign said was fair, but Mountain View Whisman School District superintendent Craig Goldman said he was encouraged by the news. The city says MVWSD would receive $2.2 million a year over the next two fiscal years in a new ongoing "Joint Powers Agreement," along with one time annual payments of $900,000 to $1.8 million for the next two fiscal years ending in 2012-2013. That is less than the $5.9 million the district would receive this year if the city's unusual property tax arrangement for Shoreline were to sunset, as other redevelopment tax districts do.
On Tuesday evening at 5 p.m. the City Council will take up the proposal along with a second option that could extend negotiations past the city's July 1 budget deadline.
"We're encouraged by the city's position with respect to an option for sharing additional revenue," Goldman said of the proposal, which he saw Friday morning. "We're optimistic that -- if the city council is open to considering that option -- we can achieve a mutually beneficial resolution."
The funds would come from the city's Shoreline Community, a tax district created by special state legislation in 1969. The fund collects nearly all of the property taxes north of Highway 101, which would otherwise be shared with schools. It has paid for the development and maintenance of the 500-acre Shoreline Park, the 461-acre landfill underneath it and the surrounding business district, now home to Google headquarters. The value of that property has grown from $33.9 million in 1969 to $2.4 billion now, the city reports. Total property taxes were $19.1 million last year.
The MVWSD board discussed the issue Thursday evening. Share Shoreline campaign leader and MVWSD parent Jim Pollart said that according to his research the Shoreline Community is the only special district of its kind in California. He called for the school board to demand its fair share of tax revenues from the special district.
Goldman did not recommend that the board take any action, but said he wanted to make sure that everyone on the board understood the situation.
There has been less interest on the part of the Mountain View-Los Altos High School District to retrieve its share of the Shoreline property taxes, which would amount to an additional $3.6 million a year if the Shoreline Community went away. Both districts have received $450,000 a year from Shoreline in a special Joint Powers Agreement for several years. Under the proposal, MVLASD would receive a projected $1.4 million annually over the next two fiscal years in a new JPA, along with one-time payments of up to $1.2 million over the next two fiscal years.
All of the payments are projections as they would be based on a formula that would take into account the property tax rate, which changes every year based on property values.
To afford the school payments, city spending on capital projects at Shoreline would have to be cut back, and the city would have to dip into reserves for some projects. Which capital projects could be cut is uncertain, but future city projects at Shoreline include new soccer and baseball fields along Garcia Avenue and extensions of the Stevens Creek and Permanente Creek trails.
The City Council's study session on the proposal will take place Feb. 8 at 5p.m. in the City Council chambers on the second floor of City Hall at 500 Castro Street.