On July 17th, certain Fresno county island residents voted on CSA 51--which was a proposal to build water pipe lines bringing tap water to some 432 county homeowners in a low-yield water area. Each of these residents would then be assessed approximately $54,000 in additional property taxes for the construction costs. If passed, homeowners would be afforded the option to pay up front, or over the course of 30 years.
It is my understanding that the unofficial vote tally is 251 against, 97 in favor.
The vote reminds me of a recent Supreme Court case, Armour v. City of Indianapolis, where Indianapolis constructed a sewer system for a neighborhood and financed it through a tax assessment of around $9,300 per parcel. Owners could pay it in a single lump sum or over the course of 30 years. Several years after the assessment, the city decided to issue bonds to cover the costs and the city forgave the unpaid installments, but refused to refund any part of the upfront payments made by some 38 owners. The Supreme Court ruled that equal protection was not violated by the city's decision to treat these taxpayers unequally. Why? Because it was rationally related to the city's legitimate objective of avoiding administrative inconvenience.