Jordan Z. Marks


County of San Diego


Mello-Roos is a method of financing government entities, such as cities, counties, school districts and other special districts, that are in need of public improvements.

Mello-Roos is used to fund these public improvement projects; however, before the government entities can form a Community Facilities District (CFD), they must first obtain permission from the area landowners or hold an election of registered voters within the proposed CFD.

Step One:

To locate and identify your Mello-Roos District, or Community Facilities District (CFD), you will search by your Secured Property Tax Parcel Number (Parcel Number). You will find your Parcel Number in the middle of your Property Tax Bill. You can also find your Parcel Number via the Parcel Quest look-up tool.

If you are still having difficulties locating your Parcel Number, please call the Assessor’s Public Information Section at (619) 236-3771 and we will be able to assist.

Step Two:

With your Parcel Number in hand, go the following link:  Special Assessments .  Here you will be able to access all Mello-Roos and Special Assessments for the Fiscal Year. For ease of reference to a CFD, print out the Special Assessments (detail). Ease of reference will assist in Step Three.

For example and depending upon location of the property, you may see descriptions such as: Carlsbad CFD #1; CFD 97-3 McMillin Otay Ranch; San Marcos CFD 98-01; CFD 07M Eastlake 111 Woods, Vistas; Chula Vista Elem CFD #1; or Poway Unified CFD #1 and the like. You will also see a corresponding information telephone number associated with each CFD.

Step Three:

Step Three will lead you to specific detail as to each CFD such as bond issue and maturity date; benefits (services) for which the bond is providing; debt service on the bond; maximum increases that may occur for the special tax (associated with the bond and your parcel); and other related aspects, as provided, directly by the CFD Administrator or City.

To locate detail and background about your particular CFD, go to the County of San Diego Auditor and Controller Active Mello-Roos Districts (CFD) for the current fiscal year.  Here, you will find the CFD (as appeared on the breakdown of Mello-Roos and Special Assessments related to your Parcel identified in Step Two).  CFD(s) may fall within one or more of the following categories:

  • Cities
  • Fire Protection District
  • Schools
  • Water District
  • Community Service District

At the end of each category, you will find the appropriate link which will provide you with specific detail as described in Step Two.  This information is provided by the CFD Administrator, such as the City. If the appropriate link associated with your CFD is s not available at this time, you will find a direct contact phone number for the CFD Administrator to assist in your search for detailed information and questions.

If you find that you are experiencing difficulties in contacting the CFD Administrator from the telephone number provided, please call the Auditor & Controller, Property Tax Services Department at (858) 694-2901 or, via email at:

  • Special assessments are administered by the entities levying them. Questions regarding special assessments should be directed to the agency by contacting the telephone number provided on the tax bill. 
  • The County of San Diego, Auditor & Controller maintains a complete list of Active Mello-Roos Districts (CFD) for each fiscal year 
  • For questions, the County of San Diego Auditor & Controller, Property Tax Services department can be contacted at (858) 694-2901, or via email at: 

The California legislature passed the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982, which became law in January of 1983 (California Government Code Section 53311 et. seq.) This act allows local governments to establish a Mello-Roos special tax assessment district in a developing area to finance specific public facilities and services needed by that particular area. A Mello-Roos Community Facilities District (CFD) is initiated by either: (1) a written request signed by two members of the legislative body (local government or school district); (2) a petition signed by 10% of the eligible voters in the area; or (3) a petition signed by the landowners of 10% of the area in the proposed district. 

The legislative body then adopts a resolution of intention to establish a CFD. Public hearings are held by the legislative body and written protests are reviewed. If adequate support for formation of the district is found at the hearings, the legislative body adopts a resolution of formation and an election is held. The formation of a Mello-Roos CFD has to be approved by two-thirds of the eligible voters or landowners in the proposed district. If less than 12 registered voters reside within the proposed district, the vote shall be held by the landowners only of the proposed district with each landowner having one vote per acre owned. 

Mello-Roos bonds can only be used to finance new or additional facilities and services. The services and facilities that can be financed by a Mello-Roos CFD are: elementary and secondary schools; police protection, including criminal justice facilities; fire protection, including ambulance and paramedic facilities; recreation program services; flood and storm protection services; libraries; natural gas pipeline facilities; telephone lines; electrical transmission lines and facilities; and any other government facility which is owned and operated by the local government. Financing existing facilities and services is not allowed by this act. 

Once established, the Mello-Roos district has bonding and taxing authority. It can issue bonds to finance the designated public facilities or services, which are then repaid by a special tax levied by the Mello-Roos district. This special tax is added to the property tax bill by the County Auditor-Controller at the request of the district, and then collected by the County Tax Collector. Although the act does not specify how the special tax should be allocated, most districts apply it according to the benefit received by the parcel (i.e. square footage of new homes is commonly used for schools, and frontage is used for new roads).

A concern with Mello-Roos financing is the need for adequate disclosure to new buyers that the properties are within a Communities Facilities District, and that these changes will be added to the 1% tax rate as required by Proposition 13. It is essential to emphasize the amount and duration of these Mello-Roos charges to new buyers so that they fully understand that they are included in a district and will be paying higher property taxes to pay off the bonds.

For the disclosure of Mello-Roos on new home sales, the best source is the Public Report, commonly referred to as the "White Paper," Section 11010 of the California Government Code that requires disclosure of all indebtedness that is a lien on the subdivision or any part thereof. According to the California Department of Real Estate, the Public Report includes all information submitted to them in the Notice of Intention. Because the Public Report is required on all new subdivision lots, real estate agents are aware of any additional charges. Disclosure then becomes a simple matter of making sure the buyer is aware of these liens or bonds that must be paid off in the future by higher property taxes.

Re-sales of existing condominiums and homes may be problematic. Since a Public Report is not required on re-sales, the discovery of the amount and duration of the Mello-Roos bonds is not always immediately available. Therefore, the agent may have to do additional research to obtain this information for disclosure purposes.

Part of the requirements of forming a Mello-Roos Community Facilities District involves recording a notice of special tax lien in the County Recorder's Office. This recorded document is noted in any title search performed by a title insurance company as well as the Preliminary Title Report. While this report will note that the property is located in a Mello-Roos district, the particulars of the amount of special taxes and the duration of the tax bonds are not recorded and therefore not provided. Further, escrow provides current and delinquent tax bill information, but usually does not address future tax liens on the property such as Mello-Roos bonds.