The much-touted EIFD (Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District) is here in California, but what is it really? It is not the same IFD that was enacted a few years ago, but rather SB 628 called for the creation of essentially a new governmental entity which can finance a wide range of improvements, locally and regionally. This includes roads, water/sewer treatment, flood control, transit facilities, libraries and parks. Unlike the old Redevelopment Agencies (RDA), there are no Housing Set–Aside or affordable housing obligations but the option to fund low and moderate income housing remains. An EIFD may not use eminent domain to acquire property, nor may it buy and sell property.
An EIFD has the power to issue bonds via the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF), as well as enact fees, special assessments or taxes, as allowed or by approval of the voters or property owners. The primary revenue tools, and the required approval thresholds, are summarized below:
- TIF/Bonds: 55% voter approval (or landowner if less than 12 registered voters)
- Community Facilities District/CFD: 2/3 approval required by voters (or possibly landowners if no registered voters)
- Assessment Districts: By majority protest ballot procedure, per Proposition 218
User Fees and Development Impact Fees: By administrative approval
A number of general fees can be enacted in the same manner as currently provided by any local agency, under guidelines from Proposition 218 and 26. This would presumably now include a Groundwater Recharge Fee, given recent court cases.
An EIFD can be formed by a city or county, and other special districts may voluntarily join the EIFD, with the notable exception of school districts who may never participate in an EIFD. No vote is required to initially form the EIFD, but as mentioned above, a 55% vote is required for bond issuance.
In summary, EIFDs may not divert revenue from any nonconsenting municipality or special district. Instead, they provide a specialized tool for local government(s) to install, replace or enhance desired infrastructure, via certain existing and anticipated new revenues.
Learn more about revenue tools (which can be used in conjunction with an EIFD) in the NBS publication “Special Financing Districts: An Introduction to Special Assessments and Special Taxes” by Tim Seufert. Download it for free on our website at: www.nbsgov.com/expertise/publications or request hard copies by sending an e-mail with your mailing information to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also available is the recently released “Rates, Fees and Charges” Compendium on water, wastewater, recycled water and stormwater rates, as well as user, regulatory and development impact fees.