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Los Angeles Unified School District v. County of Los Angeles

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Fourth Division

June 26, 2013

LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES et al., Defendants and Respondents CITY OF LOS ANGELES et al., Real Parties in Interest and Respondents.

APPEAL from a judgment and orders of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County No. BS108180, Elihu M. Berle, Judge.

David Holmquist, John F. Walsh, and Gregory L. McNair; Strumwasser & Woocher, Gregory G. Luke, and Rachel A. Deutsch for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Troutman Sanders, Paul L. Gale, and Peter R. Lucier; John F. Krattli, County Counsel, and Charles Douglas Lovejoy, Deputy County Counsel, for Defendants and Respondents County of Los Angeles, Wendy L. Watanabe, as Auditor-Controller for the County of Los Angeles, and Successor Agency to the Community Redevelopment Commission of the County of Los Angeles, and for Real Parties in Interest and Respondents Los Angeles County (General Fund), Los Angeles County Accumulated Outlay Fund, Los Angeles County Library, Los Angeles County Road District No. 1, Consolidated Fire Protection District of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles County Fire – Forester and Fire Warden, Bell Gardens Lighting District, Los Angeles County Lighting Maintenance District No. 1697, Los Angeles County Flood Control District, Los Angeles County Flood Control DR IMP District, Los Angeles County Flood Control Maintenance, Belvedere Garbage Disposal District, Firestone Garbage Disposal District, Mesa Heights Garbage Disposal District, Consolidated Maintenance Sewage District, Wilmington Cemetery District, Los Angeles County West Vector Control District, Los Angeles County Sanitation District, Los Angeles County Sanitation District No. 23 – Refuse T & D System, Los Angeles County Sanitation District No. 1 Operating, and Antelope Valley Resource Conservation District.

Carpenter, Rothans & Dumont, Steven J. Rothans, Justin Reade Sarno, and Steven J. Wysocky for Defendant and Respondent Successor Agency to the South Gate Community Development Commission and Real Party in Interest and Respondent City of South Gate.

Olivarez Madruga, Terence J. Gallagher, and Matthew Schuman for Defendant and Respondent Successor Agency to the Cudahy Redevelopment Agency and Real Parties in Interest and Respondents City of Cudahy and City of Cudahy Lighting District Zone 1.

Richards, Watson & Gershon and Gregory M. Kunert for Defendants and Respondents Successor Agency to the San Fernando Redevelopment Agency, Successor Agency to the West Hollywood Community Development Commission, and Successor Agency to the Huntington Park Community Development Commission.

No appearance for Defendants and Respondents City of Los Angeles, Successor Agency to Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles, Successor Agency to the Dissolved Redevelopment Agency of the City of Carson, Successor Agency to Culver City Redevelopment Agency, Successor Agency to the Dissolved Lynwood Redevelopment Agency, Successor Agency to Redevelopment Agency of the City of Long Beach, Successor Agency to Maywood Redevelopment Agency, and Successor Agency to the City of Vernon Redevelopment Agency.

No appearance for Real Parties in Interest and Respondents City of Carson, City of Huntington Park, City of Long Beach, City of Lynwood, City of Maywood, City of San Fernando, City of Vernon, City of West Hollywood, Culver City, Southern California Rapid Transit District, Compton Creek Mosquito Abatement District, Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control, West Hollywood Lighting Maintenance District, City of Long Beach Area – Southern California Metropolitan Water District, City of Los Angeles Area – Southern California Metropolitan Water District, City of San Fernando Area – Southern California Metropolitan Water District, Central Basin – Southern California Metropolitan Water District, West Basin – Southern California Metropolitan Water District, Central Basin Municipal Water District, and West Basin Municipal Water District.

SUZUKAWA, J.

In this writ of mandate proceeding, the superior court entered a July 3, 2012 judgment requiring defendant and respondent County of Los Angeles to include in its calculation of plaintiff and appellant Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) property tax allocation base the property tax revenue that LAUSD actually received from local Educational Revenue Augmentation Funds (ERAF’s). The resulting increase in LAUSD’s property tax allocation base will cause a corresponding increase in LAUSD’s allocation of community redevelopment project mitigation or passthrough payments under Health and Safety Code section 33607.5.

In this appeal from the July 3, 2012 judgment, LAUSD contends the judgment and orders implementing the judgment do not sufficiently increase its property tax allocation base and, therefore, do not sufficiently increase its passthrough payments. LAUSD argues that its property tax allocation base must also include its share of the property tax revenue that was diverted from the ERAF’s by the Triple Flip and Vehicle Licensing Fee Swap (VLF Swap) legislation. (Stats. 2003, 5th Ex. Sess. 2003-2004, ch. 2, § 4.1; Stats. 2004, ch. 211, §§ 30-31, pp. 2332-2333.) LAUSD seeks to revise the judgment and related orders such that its share of the diverted ERAF revenue will be added to its property tax allocation base, which will further increase its share of passthrough payments under Health and Safety Code section 33607.5.

We conclude LAUSD’s contention is correct. The relevant property tax allocation statutes and the California Supreme Court’s analysis of the Triple Flip and VLF Swap legislation in City of Alhambra v. County of Los Angeles (2012) 55 Cal.4th 707 (City of Alhambra) support LAUSD’s contention that its share of the diverted ERAF revenue must be included in the calculation of its property tax allocation base, which will result in a corresponding increase in its share of passthrough payments under Health and Safety Code section 33607.5. We therefore reverse and remand for further proceedings.

BACKGROUND

Upon completion of a redevelopment project, the resulting increase in property tax revenue (sometimes referred to as the property tax increment) is allocated by Health and Safety Code section 33607.5 (sometimes referred to as the passthrough legislation) among the affected local taxing entities, including schools.[1] The passthrough legislation allocates the property tax increment “‘among the affected taxing entities... in proportion to the percentage share of property taxes each affected taxing entity... receives during the fiscal year ...


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