All council members were present for the Tuesday, Oct. 5 City Council meeting. Open session started at 5:00 p.m. and ended at 9:55 p.m. Here's what you missed:
Los Angeles County Assessor reveals County’s 11th year of Property Value Growth despite Pandemic Challenges. Property values in LA County and in the City of Carson rose this year despite challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic according to LA County Assessor Jeffry Prang. Prang made the announcement during his presentation where he updated the public on the County’s 2020-2021 assessment roll, explained property inheritance rules under proposition 19, and highlighted the Homeowner’s Exemption property tax saving program. The annual inventory of all taxable property in the county, otherwise known as LA County’s Assessment Roll, experienced its 11th consecutive year of growth since 2008 noting a 3.7% or $62.9 billion increase over the prior year to a total of $1.76 trillion assessed property value in the county. While this year’s growth of 3.7% is less than last year’s rise of 6%, it shows that the county has a reasonably strong real estate market despite pandemic challenges. Prang noted that real estate market performed relatively well as limited inventory and low mortgage rates during the pandemic pushed the county’s already competitive housing market into such an overdrive that typical home prices reached at least $1 million in 50 different Los Angeles neighborhoods. The median price single family homes in the county increased 18% to $850,000.
The pandemic had an adverse effect on business operations causing taxable business property/equipment to go unused,” continued Prang. As a result of the possible decline in value, his office provided property tax relief to over 47,000 small businesses county wide to a total reduction of $210 million in assessed value. In Carson, the Assessor’s office issued property tax relief for 754 businesses out of 2,394, or about 31%, for a total of about $1.8 million dollars.
Property values in the City of Carson followed a similar trend to the county. The assessed value of all taxable property in the city grew 1.1% to a total of $16.8 billion. While still a net positive, the city’s property value growth rate lacked in comparison to the county’s rate and the 3.2% rate of neighboring cities Compton and Torrance. Prang blamed Carson’s reduced increase to a reduction of business property, increased exemptions, and lower turnover of properties. Median sales prices for single family homes in the City rose 12.5% to $655,000.
Prang also included specifics on proposition 19. While the new law does provide benefits by allowing senior citizens, disabled, and victims of natural disasters to transfer their property tax base with them as they buy a new home anywhere in the state up to three times, the main controversy focuses on the significant changes to the process of home transfers between family members. In the past, a family member could inherit a house at any tax value without it being reassessed and inherit additional property up to $1 million with no assessment. That is no longer the case under prop 19 and the following qualifications must be met to avoid the complete reassessment of a transferred property:
Inherited property must be primary residence of the parent or grandparent. Rentals not included.
The inheritor must make that property their primary residence within 1 year of the transfer and file for the Homeowner’s Exemption tax saving program.
The inherited home must be less than $1 million for no re-assessment to occur. If the value is more than $1 million, then only a partial re-assessment occurs.
Finally, Prang highlighted the Homeowner’s Exemption, a tax saving program which applies to anybody who resides in their own house as of Jan. 2021. The Homeowners’ Exemption reduces a property’s taxable assessed value by $7,000, which results in $70 off on the individual's property tax bill. The Assessor’s office estimates about 32% (almost 4,000) of qualifying homeowners in the City of Carson have not applied for the exemption, leaving free unclaimed savings on the table every year. Prang encourages everyone to apply for the exemption by either calling his office at (213) 974-3101 or online at https://assessor.lacounty.gov/exemptions/homeowner-exemption.
Council discusses possibly allowing a public audience during city council meetings beginning in November. The council directed city staff to come back with detailed findings on how other municipalities conduct their meetings incorporating a 'hybrid approach' with both live and zoom audiences. The decision was made after the disaster council recommendation to resume in-person city council meetings beginning in November was brought to the city council for discussion. Initially, the council contemplated allowing up to 18 members of the public with negative COVID test results inside City hall which has since been prepared with plexiglass shields and dividers (any extra individuals would be directed to the Community Center). However, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Dear suggested using the Community Center only for live audiences, pointing out that if a controversial topic appeared on the agenda, 18 seats in city hall were likely not enough to seat all of the people on both sides of an issue. City Manager Sharon Landers added that for the time being council meetings will still be broadcasted via zoom.
Mayor apologizes for messy Live Public Comment Portion. For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, members of the public were directed to give their public comment live via a call in option. The result was a disorganized public comment portion which led to Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes publicly apologizing for the disarray. Comments referring to issues on the council agenda, were taken during the usual time slot however members of the public who wanted to speak on matters not related to the meeting’s agenda matters were asked to wait until the end of open session. As a result, very few public comments were given, with one confused member of the public asking, “Can I say my oral communication please?” right as the council recessed to revisit closed session. That individual’s comment was never heard. A resident of district 4 summarized their frustrations with the lack of forewarning best, “I find it very disturbing and unprofessional that the City of Carson residents were not notified in a timely matter about the change in how the public comments are to be made to the council. An important and essential part of public right has been violated by this non communication.” While the City Manager and Mayor Davis-Holmes did point out that the information was on the city website prior to the meeting they admit to needing to do a better job. “We apologize and we have 2 weeks to get it right.” said Mayor Davis-Holmes.
City of Carson reaches 80% vaccination rate as CDC approves Pfizer booster shot. Emergency Service Manager, Raymond Cheung reported a new milestone with 65,481 recorded vaccinated individuals in the city of Carson raising its vaccination rate to 80%. The great news comes as the CDC approved a booster vaccination shot from Pfizer last week. According to Cheung the following people are eligible for the third shot:
Individuals 65 years and older as well as individuals in long-term care settings should receive Pfizer's booster shot at least six months after their primary vaccinations.
Individuals 50 - 64 years old with underlying medical conditions should receive Pfizer's booster shot at least six months after their primary vaccinations.
People 18 - 49 years of age with underlying medical conditions may receive Pfizer's booster shot at least six months after their primary vaccinations, depending on their individual benefit or risks.
People 18 - 64 years old who are at increased risk for COVID 19 exposure due to occupational or institutional settings may receive Pfizer's booster shot at least six months after their primary vaccinations, depending on their individual benefit or risks.
As of the Oct. 5 City council meeting, the City has had 11,903 total reported COVID-19 cases with 265 individuals perishing from the virus.
The council made the following Proclamations:
Recognizing the month of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Recognizing the month of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Recognizing October 23 – 31 as the City of Carson’s 15th Annual Red Ribbon Week.
Recognizing October 25th as Larry Itliong Day.
E-Waste & Paper Shredding Drive-Thru: Sat., Oct. 16, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m., Carson City Hall Parking Lot.
Larry Itliong Day Celebration: Sat., Oct. 23, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., Veterans Park.
The Legacy of Larry Itliong Essay Contest: Deadline Oct. 15.
The Legacy of Larry Itliong Poster Contest: Deadline Oct. 15.
Virtual Women's Health Conference & Business Expo: Fri., Oct. 15. Register online by clicking here.