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Weird Self-Taxing Scheme to Benefit Environment?

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We were skeptical when we first heard about this one, and we're skeptical still. Supervisor Eric Mar might be on to something here -- but he might also just be stealing a page from Gavin's greenwashing playbook. The details are a little complicated, but it basically goes something like this:

Property owners who want to greenify their building but don't have the cash can apply to be part of a "Mello-Roos Special Tax District." (Yes, that is really the name.) The city will help them pay for environmentally-friendly upgrades; and in exchange, the property owner agrees to opt in to a self-tax (yes, really) that eventually finds its way back to reimbursing the city. Such a plan is already in place in Berkley (uh oh) and Gavin loves the idea (UH OH).

Mello-Roos districts aren't a new idea -- they're used all over the state, and they more or less work like a loan except that they're tied to property instead of to a person. And they don't always work out so well: in low-density sprawl-sickened Pacifica, development dried up and left residents on the hook for massive repayments. Whoops! Well, it could never happen here. Of course, Mello-Roos properties experience astronomical delinquency fees and heightened foreclosure (SMELLO-Roos is more like it!!!) ... but what's a little foreclosure when you're experiencing the satisfaction of being green?

· Gavin's Boast: SF Bleeding Solar Cash [Curbed SF]
· Loan plan rewards homeowners for green upgrades [An Examiner]
· Supervisor Eric Mar has a Green Financing Program for Energy and Water Retrofits [SF Citizen]
· $433,000 tax bill for 10 school kids angers some [The Oblong Catfish Register]
· Top 10 Tips Every Lender And Property Owner Must Know (Mello-Roos Community Facilities Districts) [Mondaq]