A state law, the Community Facilities Act, commonly called Mello-Roos, gives real estate developers the power to decide whether cities can levy a new tax.
Most proposed developments don’t have residents, and the Mello-Roos law says if there are fewer than 12 registered voters in a district, then only the landowners vote.
Sometimes it’s a single landowner, or the landowner’s agent, who casts the only vote.
When residents eventually move into the neighborhood, the Mello-Roos tax is disclosed.
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