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A few weeks ago, I wrote about how the city of San Diego had overcharged downtown property owners on fees for special services like sidewalk cleaning, tree trimming and security guards on Segways.
I wrote that if you are owed money, the city says you’re not going to be getting it back anytime soon.
Now, it looks like that could change.
Luis Ojeda, the program manager of San Diego’s Economic Development Division, announced during a meeting last week that he was proposing refunding all overcharges made since 2005, according to a resident. (He originally said he could only give refunds for one year, and only to one building in downtown.)
The refunds would show up as credits on residents’ 2011/2012 tax bills, but will first require the City Council’s approval, he said.
When I spoke to Ojeda while writing the article, he said the overcharges were the fault of an independent engineering firm hired by the city to calculate the fees and that owners would have to wait for litigation against that firm to have a chance at getting their money back.
But on Tuesday, Kathy Casey, one of the women leading the fight against the city to get the overcharges refunded, said Ojeda told her he didn’t know anything about the lawsuit. He said it would be up to the City Attorney’s Office to file.
I couldn’t reach Ojeda for a comment.
If you’re wondering whether your property is included in the area that is charged these fees, check out the map below and look at Casey’s comment on my original story, which explains where the fees show up on your tax bill.
After Tuesday’s meeting, Casey sent me the type of email I think every journalist hopes for and loves to receive.
“I want to thank you again for the article you wrote for Voice of San Diego,” she wrote. “It got results.”
The San Diego Reader first wrote about this issue in April. Please contact Claire Trageser directly at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/clairetrageser.