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11:10 AM Wed, Nov. 21st

StoneRidge, other Prescott Valley subdivisions with CFDs face higher tax rates

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Homeowners in StoneRidge and other subdivisions with community facilities districts face higher tax rates in the fiscal year starting July 1.

However, they will be paying less in taxes for the CFDs because the assessed values for their homes dropped 20 percent or more from the current fiscal year.

StoneRidge homeowners will be paying less even though the Town Council, meeting Wednesday evening as the CFD board, approved a budget that raised the property tax rate from $3.30 to $3.90 per $100 in secondary assessed valuation.

A StoneRidge home with a full cash value of $262,906 in the 2010 tax year will drop in value to $200,805 in the 2011 tax year, said Bill Kauppi, the town's management services director and the CFD's treasurer. The assessed value in turn will drop to $26,291 to $20,081.

The CFD taxes on the home will drop from $867.60 a year to $783.16, Kauppi said. The town established the CFD for StoneRidge in 2001 and issued a $14.8 million bond to finance a bridge and other improvements in the subdivision, located in the foothills south of Highway 69.

"It's a rate increase but an actual tax decrease," Town Manager Larry Tarkowski, who doubles as the district manager, said at the meeting.

The CFD board approved the new tax rates and adopted the budget for StoneRidge and seven other CFDs. The budgets range from $4,493 for the Entertainment Center CFD (Tim's Toyota Center) to more than $1.5 million for StoneRidge.

StoneRidge, the first item under new business at the meeting, was also the only item that drew public participation, with nearly 20 StoneRidge homeowners in attendance.

The StoneRidge homeowners have been playing a more active role in town government affairs ever since Tarkowski announced in December that the subdivision's developer, Tempe-based SunCor, was likely to file for bankruptcy.

Tarkowski and Kauppi conducted several meetings with the homeowners in January to go over the ramifications of a SunCor bankruptcy. Tarkowski expressed fears at the time that the homeowners could see their annual assessments - now typically ranging from $800 to $1,000 -double.

Meanwhile, town officials and their attorneys have held talks with SunCor representatives to try to resolve the debt for the CFD, which currently exceeds $13 million. Homeowners and SunCor had contributed about a combined $1.4 million a year toward the CFD.

SunCor officials withdrew their support June 9 from a proposal to turn over StoneRidge's community center to the CFD. The arrangement called for the CFD to charge the homeowners association rent, which in turn would go to paying off the bond debt.

Talks are continuing with SunCor, and took place within a half hour before the CFD board met at 5:30 p.m., Tarkowski said.

The CFD board set the tax rates and approved the budget for the StoneRidge CFD independent of any outcome of the negotiations.

StoneRidge homeowner Harry Ramsey unsuccessfully urged the CFD board to postpone a decision to await an outcome of the negotiations.

Council members Henry Schmitt and Patty Lasker own homes in StoneRidge.