One of the largest special assessments imposed on commercial properties through the property tax bill is a Sanitation District use or sewer fee. These fees are typically assessed through a formula based on broad categories of building use and applied to the square footage of the property. However, these formulas ignore the specific uses/tenancies of a particular property and may greatly overcharge the property relative to alternative fee calculations that may be allowed by the jurisdiction.
We recently represented a large (600,000sf) shopping center in California which was being assessed more than $360,000 annually in sanitation district (sewer) fees. Through the gathering and analysis of the water bills for the multiple meters at the property, we were able to calculate the actual water usage. Taking advantage of the district’s alternative fee calculation formula, we were able to support a two thirds reduction in the fee, resulting in the refund to our client of more than $250,000 for one tax year.