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Newport Beach

May 09, 2000|Danette Goulet, (949) 574-4221

Several members of the Newport Coast community, who already pay more property taxes than other homeowners in Newport Beach, are confident they can gain enough support to keep Measure A from passing June 6.

But other residents of the coastal community, who support taxing themselves to fix crumbling schools, say they don't think the group will rally enough opposition to stop the proposed $110-million school bond.

Newport Coast resident Al Willinger is leading the effort to stop the school bond in its tracks, saying it is unfair to homeowners in Mello-Roos districts such as his.

Residents of Mello-Roos districts pay a special tax, which pays off bonds to fund public improvements.

Willinger is trying to gain support in his community as well as Newport Ridge, Bonita Village, Castaways and Harbor Cove, where they also pay an additional tax.

"In these communities the folks are paying their normal 1% property tax and in addition they're paying their Mello-Roos of $1,000 to $2,500 per year, per home," Willinger said. "All of us who purchased here were aware of this obligation. . . . We just strongly believe another layer of taxes is unfair and unjustified."

Mark Schultheis, who has led the Measure A campaign, said, "It is an unfairness issue here. It would be entirely unfair for us to exclude them because the money they are paying out of Mello-Roos goes to mitigating the impacts of growth in our schools; it does not go to the repair and upgrades that would be paid for out of the bond measure."

Because the children of Newport Coast will eventually be attending Corona del Mar middle and high schools, their parents should not be exempt from a tax to repair them, Schultheis said.

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