Your property tax bill consists of three separate categories of levies: General Tax Levy, Voter Approved Indebtedness, and Direct/Special Assessments. That portion of the bill labeled General Tax Levy is the only amount controlled by Proposition 13. This tax is limited to a maximum of 1% of the assessed value of your property (the “land” and “improvements”), and can be no more than 2% greater than the previous year’s tax bill.
The portion labeled Voter Approved Indebtedness includes taxes levied to repay bonds approved by the voters. This amount varies greatly from county to county depending upon the number of local bond issues approved. Under current law, local general obligation bonds require a two-thirds majority vote to pass.
The portion of the bill labeled Direct/Special Assessments is now controlled by Proposition 218. Assessments now require a majority “YES” vote of the property owners, with each owner voting the dollar amount of their assessment. Fees charged for the property related services of sewer, water, and refuse collection can be imposed without a vote, but may not be greater than the cost of providing the service.