Using assessment fee to combat Mission Beach flies
MISSION BEACH (KUSI) — The debate is heating up in Mission Beach among residents and business owners about the best way to tackle the summertime fly problem.
Community leaders are looking for a long-term solution that bugs Mission Beach every summer.
That solution could involve the creation of a special assessment district to pay for a second trash pickup.
Will property owners in Mission Beach be willing to pay an extra fee to help the flies go away in the summer?
That’s one of the questions fueling debate over a proposed maintenance assessment district, or MAD for short.
It’s a way for community members to pay for an extra trash pickup in the summer, a service that won’t be covered any longer by the city.
Matt Gardner who owns the surf shop, Liquid Foundation in Mission Beach, isn’t sure how he feels about the idea of the assessment district.
For 2016, city council approved the cost of collecting the trash twice a week, but made it clear this would not be repeated again and that the community would have to find a way to pay for the extra pickup in the future.
Now, some community leaders are trying to setup a so-called MAD, the district that would impose a fee on property owners to pay for the second track pickup and other extra services.
Those assessments could also be applied to fixing the seawall, cleaning sidewalks, repairing the boardwalk and making other improvements beyond those provided by the city.
There are MADs in other city neighborhoods, but Gardner said he’s not completely convinced it’s necessary.
Opponents of the district have expressed concerns about granting one group the authority to decide how the money will be spent.
Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, who represents the Mission Beach area, said it was always clear that last summer’s extra trash service was only temporary.
"This was a policy decision. The city attorney has pointed out that no other neighborhood gets twice-a-week track pickup. Every neighborhood that wants these extras knows it has to form a MAD," she said.
A group called "Beautiful MB" is spearheading the effort to form the maintenance assessment district.
In January, the group will meet again to work out the details, such as how much residents or business owners will have to pay.
The plan for the district will need to win final approval through a vote by property owners and ideally, all of this has to be sorted out before the start of summer and the return of the flies.