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Typical taxes on Mossdale homes reach $8,200 a year

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POSTED April 17, 2009 1:41 a.m.
It costs a typical homeowner in the Mossdale section of Lathrop west of Interstate 5 an additional $4,100 a year in property taxes to pay the debt of special financing districts.
That is on top of standard property taxes. Take a $410,000 home that would have a $4,100 property tax bill and its effective tax load would double to $8,200 a year due to the Mossdale Mello-Roos taxes. That is a $683 a month tax bite on homeowners that is on top of mortgage and insurance payment.
Of the $4,100 for Mello-Roos taxes on a typical Mossdale home, $2,600 goes to Manteca Unified and $1,500 to districts set up to pay for major infrastructure serving the new neighborhoods.
City staff is conducting a property tax bill information meeting this Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. at Lathrop City Hall, 390 Towne Centre Drive. Special districts manager Mike Sylvia in a news release stressed that it is not a new tax but simply an explanation of existing taxes.
Property owners also can discuss their parcel’s tax bill with city staff. Those planning to attend are encouraged to bring their most current property tax bills.
While Manteca has the highest sales tax in San Joaquin County at 9.25 cents per taxable dollar, parts of Lathrop have the highest property tax assessments in the region due to Mello-Roos taxes that often exceeds the base property tax assessment in a given year.
Unlike property taxes, the Mello-Roos tax does not drop when property is sold at a lower value or is reassessed. It is a constant debt that must be paid.
Mello-Roos taxes are not used for day-to-day government operations. Instead they are paying back debt for infrastructure improvements.
Mossdale’s Mello-Roos taxes are among the highest in the region because the Lathrop City Council opted to let developers put in major sewer and water infrastructure as well as major streets and such using a Mello-Roos debt mechanism. In Manteca, by contrast, developers are required to put those in place. They in turn collapse the cost into the price of the home.
A Mello-Roos tax doesn’t necessarily mean lower housing prices. KB Homes three years ago was building concurrently in the southwest Manteca neighborhoods straddling Airport Way south of the Highway 1209 Bypass as well as in Mossdale. The same models sold typically for $40,000 more in Mossdale although the price did not reflect major infrastructure improvements as the lower Manteca prices did.
Lathrop has five areas of special financing districts - Central Lathrop, city-wide, Crossroads Commerce Park, East Lathrop, and Mossdale – in addition to the Manteca Unified Mello-Roos tax for school facilities. Some areas such as East Lathrop have six special financing districts that often overlap on various properties.
The highest East Lathrop cost is borne by Stonebridge homeowners where a typical  Mello-Roos assessment that includes the city and school district comes to $1,400 a year.
The city-wide district is paying for Lathrop’s share of the $126 million South San Joaquin County Surface Water Treatment Plant and its portion of the pipeline costs.


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