Article 18 of the state Constitution says no assessment shall be imposed on any parcel which exceeds the reasonable cost of the proportional special benefit conferred on that parcel. Only special benefits are assessable, and an agency shall separate the general benefits from the special benefits conferred on a parcel.

Presuming that all households own their homes, for arguments’ sake, within the last tabulated census data [2000], there were 1,615 households in Idyllwild. Twenty-two percent had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9 percent were married couples living together, 7.7 percent had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.2 percent were non-families. Individuals comprised 32.4 percent of all households and 10.7 percent had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.

The population was spread out with 19.9 percent under the age of 18, 5.0 percent from ages 18 to 24, 22.2 percent from ages 25 to 44, 35.0 percent from 45 to 64, and 17.9 percent who were 65 years of age or older.

About 6.8 percent of families and 12.8 percent of the population were below the poverty line, including 19 percent of those under age 18 and 4.4 percent of those age 65 or over. The median age was 46 years.

Now explain to me if the majority of households in Idyllwild don’t have children then why is it that virtually all recreation parcel special assessment dollars are spent on daycare and youth sports? These activities do not bestow a special benefit on the majority of parcel owners, whose median age is 46 years?

Further, no parcel owner survey has ever been conducted to determine what recreation benefits would best serve their specific parcel improvement needs. It’s not the same as fire or schooling where the specific benefits are obvious or mandated by law. Recreation is not mandated by law and is open for interpretation as to what it is and how that best meets the needs of parcel owners.

Without this mandate defining who uses recreation services and the benefits received by the parcels and their owners, one can only argue an intangible and general improvement to the community, not to parcels and their owners.

Bring in Valleywide Recreation, a group that knows their responsibilities to parcel owners and most important, provides a world-class recreation program for all ages and interests.

Jeff Smith
Pine Cove