Fees, Taxes & Assessments

California’s public agencies’ ability to raise revenues for infrastructure and services is significantly constrained by the adoption of a series of ballot propositions. They limit property tax rates, require voter approval of general and special taxes, and impose substantive limitations on structuring rates and charges, and the use of their revenues and procedural requirements for their adoption.
With one of California’s most extensive public agency practices, offices throughout the state and decades of experience addressing the full range of fees, tax and assessment matters, Best Best & Krieger LLP lawyers advise cities and special districts on revenue matters associated with the adoption, levy and defense of taxes, assessments, fees and charges.
Comprehensive Service
We help our agency clients protect, preserve and enhance their limited public resources and revenues while making sure they meet the requirements of Propositions 13, 62, 218, and 26. Additionally, we assist clients with:

  • Reviewing utility rate and fee studies and assessment engineering reports
  • Preparing notices of public hearings for the adoption of fees, charges and assessments
  • Complying with public hearing and protest procedures that must be followed to consider and adopt rates and charges
  • Forming assessment districts
  • Establishing new taxes, assessments, fees and charges and increasing and extending existing ones
  • Assuring compliance with the California Constitution and state laws governing the imposition of taxes, assessments, fees and charges
  • Financing major public infrastructure and public services
  • Litigating disputes regarding applicable rules, taxes, fees and charges
Areas of Focus: California Public Records Act | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Public Agency Labor & Employment | Public Agency Litigation | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: Municipal Law | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Municipal Law | Special Districts | Transportation
Areas of Focus: Fees, Taxes & Assessments | General & Special Counsel | Municipal Law | Public Finance
Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | General & Special Counsel | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Public Contracts & Construction | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: Election Law | Fees, Taxes & Assessments
Areas of Focus: Fees, Taxes & Assessments | Public Finance | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: General & Special Counsel | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Public Agency Litigation | Public Contracts & Construction
Areas of Focus: California Public Utilities Commission | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Fees, Taxes & Assessments | Municipal Law | Special Districts | Telecommunications
Areas of Focus: California Public Records Act | Election Law | Fees, Taxes & Assessments | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Public Contracts & Construction
Event Apr 14, 2021

Rate Setting Under Propositions 218 and 26

California Special Districts Association Virtual Workshop

Event Feb 16, 2021

Government Utility Rate Setting and Propositions 218 and 26 in Times of Uncertainty

California Society of Municipal Finance Officers' 2021 Annual Conference

Legal Alerts Jan 05, 2021

New Public Agency Laws on Safety, Finance, Contracting and More

Part 1: New Laws Impacting California Public Agencies for 2021

Legal Alerts Dec 21, 2020

Special Taxes by Voter Initiative Only Require Majority Voter Approval

For the Second Time This Year, California Appellate Court Upholds Voting Requirement

Legal Alerts Dec 17, 2020

Taxpayer Actions Can be Used to Challenge Government Contracts Even After Contract Completion

California Court of Appeal Decision in School District Case Applies to Public Agencies

Press Releases Oct 08, 2020

Public Finance Partner Lutfi Kharuf Recognized As One of San Diego’s 40 Under 40

SD Metro Magazine Honors Young Professionals

BB&K Webinar Sep 30, 2020

Disclosure Obligations of Issuers in Public Offerings

BB&K Free Webinar

Event Sep 29, 2020

CSDA Virtual Workshop: Rate Setting Under Propositions 218 & 26

California Special Districts Association

BB&K Webinar Sep 17, 2020

Financing Options and Strategies for Groundwater Sustainability Plan Development

BB&K Free Webinar

Legal Alerts Aug 06, 2020

Local Utility Charges Cannot Be Challenged by Referendum

Calif. Supreme Court Decision in Wilde v. City of Dunsmuir

Legal Alerts Jul 14, 2020

Property Owners Must Participate in Public Hearing to Challenge BID Assessments

A “No” Vote is Not Enough, California Appellate Court Holds

Legal Alerts Jul 13, 2020

Special Taxes by Voter Initiative Not Restricted by Proposition 13 or Proposition 218

Court of Appeal Holds Only Simple Majority Needed to Impose Special Taxes by Initiative Power

Legal Alerts Jul 07, 2020

A Toll Increase for Toll Bridge is Not a Tax Increase

California Appellate Court Says Toll is a Fee to Use Government Property, Exempt from Tax Definition

Legal Alerts Jun 09, 2020

Post-Redevelopment Distribution of Tax Increments Clarified

California Appellate Court Provides Guidance

Authored Articles & Publications May 20, 2020

Using Green Bonds to get Environmentally Driven Investors

Part 2 of a PublicCEO Series on Using Green Bonds to Advance Community Sustainability

Authored Articles & Publications May 19, 2020

How Public Agencies Can Use Green Bonds to Finance Projects

Part 1 of a PublicCEO Series on Using Green Bonds to Advance Community Sustainability

Event May 18, 2020

2020 Virtual Special Districts Legislative Days

California Special Districts Association

Legal Alerts Apr 16, 2020

When is a Franchise Fee a Tax?

Franchise Fees Charged to Waste Hauler are Not a Tax if Reasonably Related to the Value of the Franchise

BB&K Webinar Mar 05, 2020

Using Green Bonds to Help Your Public Agency Further its Public Policy Goals

BB&K Free Webinar

Videos Nov 20, 2019

[WEBINAR] Clearing the Smoke: 3 Years of Legal Cannabis in California

BB&K Webinar

Videos Oct 30, 2019

[WEBINAR] Housing and Land Use Legislative Update

BB&K Webinar

BB&K Event Oct 24, 2019

2019 California Rates 101 Workshop

Raftelis Workshop

Client Successes Oct 08, 2019

Budget-Based Water Rates Challenge Dismissed

BB&K Successfully Defends Water District

Legal Alerts Jul 09, 2019

Cities May Record Special Assessment Liens for Delinquent Fees

Calif. Appellate Court Holds These Liens Not Subject to Prop. 218

Client Successes Jul 01, 2019

BB&K Contributes to Successful Rate Ordinance Defense

Partner Kelly Salt Represented Public Agencies as Amicus Curiae

Legal Alerts Jun 18, 2019

Resolution Adopting New Water Rates Not Subject to Referendum

Calif. Court of Appeal Holds that Referendum Power Not Applicable to Local Water Rate Resolutions

Legal Alerts Jun 06, 2019

Failure to Participate in Prop. 218 Hearing Does Not Bar Fee Challenge

Calif. Supreme Court Holds Such Hearings Do Not Adequately Address Challenges to Method for Calculating Fee

Event May 21, 2019

Special District Revenue Trials and Trends

California Special Districts Association

Press Releases May 20, 2019

BB&K Attorney Lutfi Kharuf a Top 40 Under 40 in San Diego

San Diego Daily Transcript Annual List of Rising Stars

Legal Alerts May 13, 2019

"Qualified Electors" Under Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act are Registered Voters, Not Landowners, Court Order Says

A California Superior Court Weighs-In on Who Can Vote in a CFD Election

Event Feb 28, 2019

Development Agreements, Public-Private Partnerships and Redevelopment 2.0

University of California, Davis, Extension Course

Legal Alerts Feb 19, 2019

Uniform Application of Parcel Tax Does Not Require Uniform Effect on Taxpayers

California Appellate Court Upholds Los Angeles County Parcel Tax

Press Releases Dec 19, 2018

Cities’ Struggles to Meet Obligations Are Real — BB&K Municipal Law Team Grows to Help

New and Expanded Services and More Attorneys and Staff Added in 2018

Legal Alerts Oct 04, 2018

Statutory Authority to Adopt Fees Negates Any Potential State Mandate Funding

California Appellate Court Finds There is No State Mandate When a Public Agency Has The Statutory Authority to Levy Fees

Legal Alerts Oct 03, 2018

New Restrictions on Residential Water Service Discontinuation in California

SB 998 Will Require Written Policies, Detailed Notices and Alternative Payment Options

Legal Alerts Oct 02, 2018

AB 2035: New Tax Increment Financing for Shelters and Affordable Housing

California Lawmakers Continue to Address Housing Crisis

Event Sep 24, 2018

CSDA 2018 Annual Conference

California Special Districts Association

Event Sep 06, 2018

Land-Secured Financing: Legislative and Legal Updates

California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission

Legal Alerts Aug 27, 2018

Transfer of Electric Utility Revenues to City’s General Fund is not a Tax Under Proposition 26

Supreme Court Reverses Court of Appeal

Legal Alerts Aug 16, 2018

General Tax Measure with Related Advisory Measure on Same Ballot Does Not Turn It Into a Special Tax

Issue Related to Number of Votes Needed to Pass a General Versus Special Tax Under Proposition 218

Legal Alerts Jun 29, 2018

Ballot Initiative Withdrawn, Leaving Intact Local Authority to Impose Taxes, Fees and Charges

Last-Minute Deal to Withdraw Includes Moratorium on Certain New Taxes in California

Event May 30, 2018

Proposition 26, Proposition 218 and Rate Setting (Orange County)

California Special Districts Association

Authored Articles & Publications May 25, 2018

Cannabis Regulation Patchwork in California

BB&K Attorney Victor Ponto Examines Differences in PublicCEO

Event May 23, 2018

Special Districts Revenue Legislation

CSDA Legislative Days

Legal Alerts May 17, 2018

City’s Electric Utility Fund Transfer to General Fund Upheld by Court

California Appellate Court Interprets Term “Increase” and Statute of Limitations

Event Mar 13, 2018

Proposition 26, Proposition 218 and Rate Setting (Isla Vista)

California Special Districts Association

Legal Alerts Jan 11, 2018

New Fed Cannabis Policy Hits California Local Government

Potential Fiscal Impacts and Confusion

Legal Alerts Jan 09, 2018

2018 California Public Agency Laws – Part I

Elections, Public Records Act, Revenue and Conflicts of Interest

Legal Alerts Dec 04, 2017

California Supreme Court Holds Groundwater Pumping Charges Are Not Property-Related Charges Subject to Proposition 218

Case May Impact Groundwater Pumping Charges Authorized Under SGMA

Nov 01, 2017

[WEBINAR] Tax Reform: What D.C.'s Actions Could Mean for Public Agencies

BB&K Webinar

BB&K Event Nov 01, 2017

Tax Reform: What D.C.'s Actions Could Mean for Public Agencies

BB&K Free Webinar

Authored Articles & Publications Nov 01, 2017

The Proposed Tax Plan: What Public Agencies Should Know

By John Freshman and Ana Schwab

Legal Alerts Aug 29, 2017

Taxes By Voter Initiative Not Restricted By Article XIII C of the California Constitution

California Supreme Court Holds That Article XIII C Does Not Restrict Initiative Power To Impose Taxes

Legal Alerts Jul 05, 2017

Surcharge on Utility Users Imposed Under a Franchise Agreement is Not a Tax

California Supreme Court Holds Surcharge for Franchise Rights Not Subject to Voter Approval if Reasonably Related to Value of Franchise

BB&K In the News Jun 22, 2017

Calif. County Tax On Leased Tribal Lands Gets Judge's OK

Law360 Interviews Partner Rod Walston on Ruling

Client Successes Jun 22, 2017

Local Taxes on Non-Indian Possessory Interests in Indian Country OK’d by Court

BB&K Wins Major Victory for Local Agencies Confirming Authority for Taxation

Legal Alerts Jun 19, 2017

No Mandatory Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies for Proposition 218 Challenge

California Court of Appeal Allows Challenge to Prop. 218 Without Public Protest

Legal Alerts Jun 16, 2017

Non-Property Owners in Cities and Counties May Now Sue for Wasteful Government Spending

California Supreme Court Decision Widens Potential Claimant Pool

Legal Alerts May 31, 2017

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Review a Legal Challenge to Mello-Roos Special Taxes

Funding Mechanism for “Additional Services” for New Development Remains

Videos May 09, 2017

Haviva Shane Video Bio

Of Counsel

Legal Alerts Apr 10, 2017

School Districts not Exempt from Paying Assessments to Fund Flood Control Services

California Appellate Court Finds Constitutional Mandate Supersedes Statutory Exemption

Event Mar 15, 2017

Proposition 26, Proposition 218 and Rate Setting (Oakland)

California Special Districts Association

Legal Alerts Dec 22, 2016

Looking Forward: New California Laws for Public Agencies

Laws Passed in 2016 That Will Impact Public Agency Work

Legal Alerts Dec 14, 2016

Transient Occupancy (Hotel) Taxes May be Limited by Ruling

Online Booking Rates Addressed by California Supreme Court

Videos Nov 18, 2016

William J. Priest Video Bio

Of Counsel

BB&K In the News Nov 17, 2016

Drought Policies, Price of Water Lands in Court

Hillsborough, Represented by BB&K Attorney Kimberly Hood, Faces Suit from Residents

Authored Articles & Publications Nov 08, 2016

New Laws of 2017 Series Part I: Parcel Taxes and Property Related Fees

CSDA Series Kicks Off With Analysis by BB&K Attorney Lutfi Kharuf

Event Nov 02, 2016

Intro Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Finance Course

Council of Development Finance Agencies Training Institute

Legal Alerts Oct 24, 2016

Financing Increased Demand On Pre-Existing Services Constitutes “Additional Services”

California Court Decision Rules on Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982

Legal Alerts Sep 22, 2016

New Legislation Impacts Special Parcel Taxes, Community Facilities Districts, and Notices for Property-Related Fees

Public Agencies Must Comply Beginning Jan. 1

Event Apr 26, 2016

Groundwater Law Conference

American Groundwater Trust

Legal Alerts Mar 07, 2016

Statute Authorizing Transfer of Local Taxes as Penalty is Unconstitutional

California Appellate Court Ruling on Proposition 22

Legal Alerts Jan 22, 2016

PEG Fees Set by Ordinance Under California Video Franchise Law Are Not Taxes Subject to Prop. 26

State AG Opinion Could Positively Impact Many Local Governments

Legal Alerts Dec 18, 2015

New California Laws Impacting Public Agencies

This comprehensive round-up includes new legislation that will impact cities, counties, special districts and schools.

Press Releases Feb 18, 2015

BB&K Attorneys Garner Top Verdict Recognition

Jeff Dunn, Thomas Eastmond and Steven DeBaun Recognized by the Daily Journal for WRCOG v. Beaumont

Cookie Consent

By clicking “Agree,” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance website navigation, analyze website usage and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Cookie Notice here.