Non-Ad Valorem Special Assessments for Funding Solid Waste Management Systems

What is a Non-Ad Valorem Special Assessment?

A non-ad valorem special assessment is a charge (or assessment) against a specific parcel of property based on a specific benefit which the property has or will receive.

The assessment normally is billed annually as a separate line item on the property tax (or ad valorem tax) bill. For collection purposes, it is considered a part of the tax bill and carries the same penalties for failure to pay as do the property taxes on the tax bill. However, unlike the ad valorem tax which is based on the assessed value of the property, the non-ad valorem special assessment is based solely on the benefit received by the property for the service received.

Non-ad valorem special assessments typically are authorized and regulated by state statute and contain several provisions which must be strictly followed to ensure the validity of the assessment.

There are two major areas of concern when designing and implementing a special assessment program. First, the assessment for each parcel must be based on the benefit received by that parcel. Properties receiving like benefits should be assessed equally, and properties receiving unequal benefits should be assessed on that basis.

Second, the “assessment role” (the list of all properties to be assessed), should be complete and accurate. The best source of data for compiling the assessment roll is the records of the county or city official responsible for property appraisal and valuation. However, limitations may exist with the data because these records are maintained for the purpose of determining property valuations, not for performing solid waste assessments. Additional information must be developed in order to convert the initial records into a complete and accurate assessment role.

  Advantages of Using a Non-Ad Valorem Special Assessment?

Billing

Since non-ad valorem special assessments are billed annually on the property tax bill, there are many benefits:

  • Low Administrative Costs – The use of the property tax billing system results in low administrative costs.
  • High Collection Rate – Property tax collection rates, and thus special assessment collection rates, are considerably higher than those obtained through monthly billing processes.
  • Mortgage System – Those residents who pay their property taxes as part of their mortgage will be able to pay the assessment monthly as part of their mortgage payment.
  • Reliable Revenue Source – The revenue source is very stable, very constant and collection levels are predictable.
  • High Levels of Participation – Historically, as solid waste charges increase, program participation decreases. In many cases, the very individuals who need the service the most are the first to drop out. Since the service is already paid for under the special assessment system, there is incentive to participat e.

  Flexibility

Non-ad valorem special assessment systems are flexible. They can be designed to support any or all aspects of a solid waste management system. SCS Management Services (SCS-MS) can design and implement a non-ad valorem special assessment program tailored to a local government’s system, (mandatory service, voluntary service, franchised service, or free-market service). For example, a system could:

  • Assess all solid waste system costs.
  • Assess residential collection and disposal costs, charge a tipping fee for commercial disposal and allow the haulers to bill all commercial collection services.
  • Assess residential disposal costs, charge a tipping fee for commercial disposal and allow the haulers to bill all residential and commercial collection services.
  • Assess the capital and debt portions of the disposal costs, charge a tipping fee for disposal operating costs, and allow the haulers to bill for all collection costs.
  • Assess all residents for disposal, assess all residents within an “urban” zone for collection and allow the hauler to bill those residents outside the “urban” zone for collection as needed, charge a tipping fee for commercial disposal and allow the hauler to bill commercial collection services.
  • Assess all disposal and recycling costs and allow all residential and commercial customers to chose their own collection options.

The variations are limited only by the needs of your system.

It is critical that the individuals developing the solid waste assessment data base be knowledgeable and experienced in designing and implementing solid waste special assessment systems and that they understand the limitations of the base data.

SCS Management Services is a division of SCS Engineers, an independent, employee-owned environmental consulting firm specializing in solid waste management. SCS has offices nationwide providing services to clients across the country.

For more information about how SCS Management Services can assist you in implementing a non-ad valorem special assessment system specifically tailored to meet your requirements, contact

SCS Management Services
3012 U.S. Highway 301 North
Suite 700
Tampa, FL 33619
(813) 621-0080
FAX: (813) 623-6757
Corporate Headquarters
3900 Kilroy Airport Way, Suite 100
Long Beach, CA  90806-6816

(800) 326-9544
FAX: (310) 427-0805
Jim Walsh
(800) 684-5353

 

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