Fees, Taxes & Assessments

California’s public agencies’ ability to raise revenues for infrastructure and services is significantly constrained by the adoption of a series of ballot propositions. They limit property tax rates, require voter approval of general and special taxes, and impose substantive limitations on structuring rates and charges, and the use of their revenues and procedural requirements for their adoption.
 
With one of California’s most extensive public agency practices, offices throughout the state and decades of experience addressing the full range of fees, tax and assessment matters, Best Best & Krieger LLP lawyers advise cities and special districts on revenue matters associated with the adoption, levy and defense of taxes, assessments, fees and charges.
 
Comprehensive Service
We help our agency clients protect, preserve and enhance their limited public resources and revenues while making sure they meet the requirements of Propositions 13, 62, 218, and 26. Additionally, we assist clients with:

  • Reviewing utility rate and fee studies and assessment engineering reports
  • Preparing notices of public hearings for the adoption of fees, charges and assessments
  • Complying with public hearing and protest procedures that must be followed to consider and adopt rates and charges
  • Forming assessment districts
  • Establishing new taxes, assessments, fees and charges and increasing and extending existing ones
  • Assuring compliance with the California Constitution and state laws governing the imposition of taxes, assessments, fees and charges
  • Financing major public infrastructure and public services
  • Litigating disputes regarding applicable rules, taxes, fees and charges
Areas of Focus: California Public Records Act | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Public Agency Labor & Employment | Public Agency Litigation | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: Municipal Law | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Municipal Law | Special Districts | Transportation
Areas of Focus: Fees, Taxes & Assessments | General & Special Counsel | Municipal Law | Public Finance
Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | General & Special Counsel | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Public Contracts & Construction | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: Fees, Taxes & Assessments | Public Finance | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: General & Special Counsel | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Public Agency Litigation | Public Contracts & Construction
Areas of Focus: California Public Utilities Commission | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Fees, Taxes & Assessments | Municipal Law | Special Districts | Telecommunications
Areas of Focus: California Public Records Act | Elections | Fees, Taxes & Assessments | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Public Contracts & Construction
Areas of Focus: Fees, Taxes & Assessments | Municipal Law | Public Finance | School Finances, Developer Fees & Mitigation
Areas of Focus: Municipal Law | Public Contracts & Construction | Special Districts | Transportation | Water
Areas of Focus: Endangered Species | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | General & Special Counsel | Municipal Law | Special Districts | Water
Areas of Focus: California Public Records Act | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | General & Special Counsel | Municipal Law | Public Contracts & Construction | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Fees, Taxes & Assessments | Municipal Law | Public Agency Litigation | Telecommunications
Areas of Focus: California Public Records Act | Elections | Environmental Litigation | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Land Use, Planning & Zoning | Municipal Law | Public Agency Litigation
Areas of Focus: Business Litigation | Public Agency Litigation
One Calif. City’s Tax Test
BB&K In the News Jul 26, 2019

One Calif. City’s Tax Test

Partner Kelly Salt Discusses San Francisco’s New Tax Efforts with Bloomberg Tax

Cities May Record Special Assessment Liens for Delinquent Fees
Legal Alerts Jul 09, 2019

Cities May Record Special Assessment Liens for Delinquent Fees

Calif. Appellate Court Holds These Liens Not Subject to Prop. 218

BB&K Contributes to Successful Rate Ordinance Defense
Client Successes Jul 01, 2019

BB&K Contributes to Successful Rate Ordinance Defense

Partner Kelly Salt Represented Public Agencies as Amicus Curiae

Resolution Adopting New Water Rates Not Subject to Referendum
Legal Alerts Jun 18, 2019

Resolution Adopting New Water Rates Not Subject to Referendum

Calif. Court of Appeal Holds that Referendum Power Not Applicable to Local Water Rate Resolutions

Failure to Participate in Prop. 218 Hearing Does Not Bar Fee Challenge
Legal Alerts Jun 06, 2019

Failure to Participate in Prop. 218 Hearing Does Not Bar Fee Challenge

Calif. Supreme Court Holds Such Hearings Do Not Adequately Address Challenges to Method for Calculating Fee

Event May 21, 2019

Special District Revenue Trials and Trends

California Special Districts Association

BB&K Attorney Lutfi Kharuf a Top 40 Under 40 in San Diego
Press Releases May 20, 2019

BB&K Attorney Lutfi Kharuf a Top 40 Under 40 in San Diego

San Diego Daily Transcript Annual List of Rising Stars

"Qualified Electors" Under Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act are Registered Voters, Not Landowners, Court Order Says
Legal Alerts May 13, 2019

"Qualified Electors" Under Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act are Registered Voters, Not Landowners, Court Order Says

A California Superior Court Weighs-In on Who Can Vote in a CFD Election

Event Feb 28, 2019

Development Agreements, Public-Private Partnerships and Redevelopment 2.0

University of California, Davis, Extension Course

Uniform Application of Parcel Tax Does Not Require Uniform Effect on Taxpayers
Legal Alerts Feb 19, 2019

Uniform Application of Parcel Tax Does Not Require Uniform Effect on Taxpayers

California Appellate Court Upholds Los Angeles County Parcel Tax

California Supreme Court and Local Taxes
BB&K In the News Feb 15, 2019

California Supreme Court and Local Taxes

Partner Kelly Salt Interviewed by CALMatters on Upland’s Impact

Cities’ Struggles to Meet Obligations Are Real —  BB&K Municipal Law Team Grows to Help
Press Releases Dec 19, 2018

Cities’ Struggles to Meet Obligations Are Real — BB&K Municipal Law Team Grows to Help

New and Expanded Services and More Attorneys and Staff Added in 2018

Statutory Authority to Adopt Fees Negates Any Potential State Mandate Funding
Legal Alerts Oct 04, 2018

Statutory Authority to Adopt Fees Negates Any Potential State Mandate Funding

California Appellate Court Finds There is No State Mandate When a Public Agency Has The Statutory Authority to Levy Fees

New Restrictions on Residential Water Service Discontinuation in California
Legal Alerts Oct 03, 2018

New Restrictions on Residential Water Service Discontinuation in California

SB 998 Will Require Written Policies, Detailed Notices and Alternative Payment Options

AB 2035: New Tax Increment Financing for Shelters and Affordable Housing
Legal Alerts Oct 02, 2018

AB 2035: New Tax Increment Financing for Shelters and Affordable Housing

California Lawmakers Continue to Address Housing Crisis

Event Sep 24, 2018

CSDA 2018 Annual Conference

California Special Districts Association

Event Sep 06, 2018

Land-Secured Financing: Legislative and Legal Updates

California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission

Transfer of Electric Utility Revenues to City’s General Fund is not a Tax Under Proposition 26
Legal Alerts Aug 27, 2018

Transfer of Electric Utility Revenues to City’s General Fund is not a Tax Under Proposition 26

Supreme Court Reverses Court of Appeal

General Tax Measure with Related Advisory Measure on Same Ballot Does Not Turn It Into a Special Tax
Legal Alerts Aug 16, 2018

General Tax Measure with Related Advisory Measure on Same Ballot Does Not Turn It Into a Special Tax

Issue Related to Number of Votes Needed to Pass a General Versus Special Tax Under Proposition 218

Ballot Initiative Withdrawn, Leaving Intact Local Authority to Impose Taxes, Fees and Charges
Legal Alerts Jun 29, 2018

Ballot Initiative Withdrawn, Leaving Intact Local Authority to Impose Taxes, Fees and Charges

Last-Minute Deal to Withdraw Includes Moratorium on Certain New Taxes in California

Event May 30, 2018

Proposition 26, Proposition 218 and Rate Setting (Orange County)

California Special Districts Association

Cannabis Regulation Patchwork in California
Authored Articles & Publications May 25, 2018

Cannabis Regulation Patchwork in California

BB&K Attorney Victor Ponto Examines Differences in PublicCEO

Event May 23, 2018

Special Districts Revenue Legislation

CSDA Legislative Days

City’s Electric Utility Fund Transfer to General Fund Upheld by Court
Legal Alerts May 17, 2018

City’s Electric Utility Fund Transfer to General Fund Upheld by Court

California Appellate Court Interprets Term “Increase” and Statute of Limitations

Event May 08, 2018

Impact of Cannabis Business to State and Local Governments

Impact of Cannabis Business to State and Local Governments

Event Mar 13, 2018

Proposition 26, Proposition 218 and Rate Setting (Isla Vista)

California Special Districts Association

Event Mar 07, 2018

Special Taxes by Initiative

California Legislative Hearing

New Fed Cannabis Policy Hits California Local Government
Legal Alerts Jan 11, 2018

New Fed Cannabis Policy Hits California Local Government

Potential Fiscal Impacts and Confusion

2018 California Public Agency Laws – Part I
Legal Alerts Jan 09, 2018

2018 California Public Agency Laws – Part I

Elections, Public Records Act, Revenue and Conflicts of Interest

California Supreme Court Holds Groundwater Pumping Charges Are Not Property-Related Charges Subject to Proposition 218
Legal Alerts Dec 04, 2017

California Supreme Court Holds Groundwater Pumping Charges Are Not Property-Related Charges Subject to Proposition 218

Case May Impact Groundwater Pumping Charges Authorized Under SGMA

[WEBINAR] Tax Reform: What D.C.'s Actions Could Mean for Public Agencies
Nov 01, 2017

[WEBINAR] Tax Reform: What D.C.'s Actions Could Mean for Public Agencies

BB&K Webinar

BB&K Event Nov 01, 2017

Tax Reform: What D.C.'s Actions Could Mean for Public Agencies

BB&K Free Webinar

Authored Articles & Publications Nov 01, 2017

The Proposed Tax Plan: What Public Agencies Should Know

By John Freshman and Ana Schwab

Taxes By Voter Initiative Not Restricted By Article XIII C of the California Constitution
Legal Alerts Aug 29, 2017

Taxes By Voter Initiative Not Restricted By Article XIII C of the California Constitution

California Supreme Court Holds That Article XIII C Does Not Restrict Initiative Power To Impose Taxes

Surcharge on Utility Users Imposed Under a Franchise Agreement is Not a Tax
Legal Alerts Jul 05, 2017

Surcharge on Utility Users Imposed Under a Franchise Agreement is Not a Tax

California Supreme Court Holds Surcharge for Franchise Rights Not Subject to Voter Approval if Reasonably Related to Value of Franchise

BB&K In the News Jun 22, 2017

Calif. County Tax On Leased Tribal Lands Gets Judge's OK

Law360 Interviews Partner Rod Walston on Ruling

Local Taxes on Non-Indian Possessory Interests in Indian Country OK’d by Court
Client Successes Jun 22, 2017

Local Taxes on Non-Indian Possessory Interests in Indian Country OK’d by Court

BB&K Wins Major Victory for Local Agencies Confirming Authority for Taxation

No Mandatory Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies for Proposition 218 Challenge
Legal Alerts Jun 19, 2017

No Mandatory Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies for Proposition 218 Challenge

California Court of Appeal Allows Challenge to Prop. 218 Without Public Protest

Non-Property Owners in Cities and Counties May Now Sue for Wasteful Government Spending
Legal Alerts Jun 16, 2017

Non-Property Owners in Cities and Counties May Now Sue for Wasteful Government Spending

California Supreme Court Decision Widens Potential Claimant Pool

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Review a Legal Challenge to Mello-Roos Special Taxes
Legal Alerts May 31, 2017

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Review a Legal Challenge to Mello-Roos Special Taxes

Funding Mechanism for “Additional Services” for New Development Remains

Haviva Shane Video Bio
Videos May 09, 2017

Haviva Shane Video Bio

Of Counsel

Event May 09, 2017

One Water, One Future

ACWA's 2017 Spring Conference & Exhibition

Event Apr 12, 2017

Structuring Conservation-Based Rates Under Current California Law

CA-NV AWWA's 2017 Spring Conference

School Districts not Exempt from Paying Assessments to Fund Flood Control Services
Legal Alerts Apr 10, 2017

School Districts not Exempt from Paying Assessments to Fund Flood Control Services

California Appellate Court Finds Constitutional Mandate Supersedes Statutory Exemption

Event Mar 15, 2017

Proposition 26, Proposition 218 and Rate Setting (Oakland)

California Special Districts Association

Event Feb 23, 2017

Proposition 26, Proposition 218 and Rate Setting (Vista)

California Special Districts Association

Looking Forward: New California Laws for Public Agencies
Legal Alerts Dec 22, 2016

Looking Forward: New California Laws for Public Agencies

Laws Passed in 2016 That Will Impact Public Agency Work

Transient Occupancy (Hotel) Taxes May be Limited by Ruling
Legal Alerts Dec 14, 2016

Transient Occupancy (Hotel) Taxes May be Limited by Ruling

Online Booking Rates Addressed by California Supreme Court

Hillsborough Residents File Suit Over Water Rates
BB&K In the News Dec 02, 2016

Hillsborough Residents File Suit Over Water Rates

Rates Comply with Law, BB&K Partner Kelly Salt Tells East Bay Times

William J. Priest Video Bio
Videos Nov 18, 2016

William J. Priest Video Bio

Of Counsel

Drought Policies, Price of Water Lands in Court
BB&K In the News Nov 17, 2016

Drought Policies, Price of Water Lands in Court

Hillsborough, Represented by BB&K Attorney Kimberly Hood, Faces Suit from Residents

New Laws of 2017 Series Part I: Parcel Taxes and Property Related Fees
Authored Articles & Publications Nov 08, 2016

New Laws of 2017 Series Part I: Parcel Taxes and Property Related Fees

CSDA Series Kicks Off With Analysis by BB&K Attorney Lutfi Kharuf

Event Nov 02, 2016

Intro Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Finance Course

Council of Development Finance Agencies Training Institute

Financing Increased Demand On Pre-Existing Services Constitutes “Additional Services”
Legal Alerts Oct 24, 2016

Financing Increased Demand On Pre-Existing Services Constitutes “Additional Services”

California Court Decision Rules on Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982

Event Oct 06, 2016

Ensuring the Financial Health of Your Utility After California's Historic Drought

Rate Workshop Hosted by Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc.

New Legislation Impacts Special Parcel Taxes, Community Facilities Districts, and Notices for Property-Related Fees
Legal Alerts Sep 22, 2016

New Legislation Impacts Special Parcel Taxes, Community Facilities Districts, and Notices for Property-Related Fees

Public Agencies Must Comply Beginning Jan. 1

Event Apr 26, 2016

Groundwater Law Conference

American Groundwater Trust

Statute Authorizing Transfer of Local Taxes as Penalty is Unconstitutional
Legal Alerts Mar 07, 2016

Statute Authorizing Transfer of Local Taxes as Penalty is Unconstitutional

California Appellate Court Ruling on Proposition 22

PEG Fees Set by Ordinance Under California Video Franchise Law Are Not Taxes Subject to Prop. 26
Legal Alerts Jan 22, 2016

PEG Fees Set by Ordinance Under California Video Franchise Law Are Not Taxes Subject to Prop. 26

State AG Opinion Could Positively Impact Many Local Governments

New California Laws Impacting Public Agencies
Legal Alerts Dec 18, 2015

New California Laws Impacting Public Agencies

This comprehensive round-up includes new legislation that will impact cities, counties, special districts and schools.

California Water Restrictions Could Continue Under New Executive Order
Legal Alerts Nov 16, 2015

California Water Restrictions Could Continue Under New Executive Order

Governor Orders Extension If Drought Conditions Linger

California Supreme Court Denies Requests to Depublish San Juan Capistrano Case
Legal Alerts Jul 23, 2015

California Supreme Court Denies Requests to Depublish San Juan Capistrano Case

Action Means the Closely Watched Tiered Water Rate Case Is Final

City’s Revenue Transfer From its Wastewater Utility to its General Fund Is Justified
Legal Alerts Jun 04, 2015

City’s Revenue Transfer From its Wastewater Utility to its General Fund Is Justified

California Appellate Court Holds that Transfer Did Not Violate Proposition 218

Press Releases Feb 18, 2015

BB&K Attorneys Garner Top Verdict Recognition

Jeff Dunn, Thomas Eastmond and Steven DeBaun Recognized by the Daily Journal for WRCOG v. Beaumont

Legislation Broadening Infrastructure Financing Districts Signed by Gov. Brown
Legal Alerts Oct 06, 2014

Legislation Broadening Infrastructure Financing Districts Signed by Gov. Brown

Four bills broaden the appeal of IFDs as a funding mechanism for local infrastructure, environmental mitigation, private industrial facilities, affordable housing and broadband