PALMDALE —  Continuing a trend spanning the past five years, assessments on properties in the Palmdale Water District will be slightly lower this year.

The District Board of Directors on Monday, approved assessing just under 22 cents per $100 of property value, about a half-cent lower than last year.

The assessments are levied each year to pay for the District’s portion of the fixed costs of the State Water Project, which carries water from Northern to Southern California.

Monday’s decision was the annual exercise in setting these rates, based on cost estimates from the state Department of Water Resources and assessed property values from Los Angeles County.

Since 1991, the highest the assessment has been was about 35 cents per $100 in the 2014-2015 tax year, based on a table included in the staff report.

Last year, the assessment was 22.35 cents per $100 value, while this year, it came in at 21.81 cents.

For a property worth $250,000, for example, the assessment would amount to about $545.

The assessment is a function of both the total assessed property value within the District, and the amount owed each year to the state Department of Water Resources for the State Water Project costs.

This year, the total assessed property value, provided by Los Angeles County, is $2.029 billion. It has been steadily growing over the past five years, according to the table in the staff report.

“We cracked the two billion mark,” Finance Director Michael Williams said, “The highest it’s ever been.”

The Department of State Water Resources bill this year is $4.16 million, up slightly from last year’s cost of nearly $4.03 million.

The Board approved the assessment on a 4-0 vote, with Director Don Wilson abstaining.

Wilson, who joined the Board in December, said he didn’t feel he had enough time to study the staff report, which was not available until the last minute before Monday’s meeting.

The delay in getting the information to the Board is not unusual with this annual matter, General Manager Dennis LaMoreaux said.

Staff must wait until the county provides the assessed valuation, which was not available until Friday, the make the calculation of the assessment, gain Board approval and provide the information to Los Angeles County to be included in the 2019-2020 property tax rolls by Aug. 23, he said.

“The rate is really a straight forward calculation between the cost that we have to collect to pay our fixed costs to the State Water Project and the value of the land,” LaMoreaux said. “There’s really not much that we can do other than do the calculation.”

The District sets the rate, and the assessments are collected through the Los Angeles County property tax bills.

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