Essential Services For Youth Special Districts
The bill creates an essential services for youth special district (district) in each judicial district. The boundaries of each district are coterminous with the boundaries of the judicial district in which it is created. The purposes of each district are to:
- Seek voter approval from registered electors in the district for the levy and collection of a uniform sales and use tax or a property tax, or both, throughout the entire geographical area of the district for the purpose of providing a sustainable funding source for essential services providers to provide services to at-risk youth who reside in the district;
- Upon the approval of the registered electors in the district, to levy and collect a uniform sales and use tax or a property tax, or both, throughout the entire geographical area of the district;
- Distribute the district sales and use tax or property tax revenue to essential services providers to provide services to at-risk youth who reside in the district; and
- Monitor the purposes for which the district tax revenue is used by essential services providers.
A district is inactive until:
- Either the chief judge of the judicial district or the board of directors of the local court-appointed special advocate (CASA) program call a meeting of the appointing authorities of the district board (appointing authorities) to determine whether the district will become active. The appointing authorities include representatives from the judicial district, the local CASA program, the district attorney's office, the child advocacy center in the judicial district, and the counties and municipalities in which the district is located.
- The appointing authorities meet and adopt a resolution by a majority vote declaring that the district will become active; and
- The board of directors of the local CASA program files the resolution with specified entities.
A district that is activated by a vote of the appointing authorities is governed by a board of directors (board) consisting of 9 members. The bill specifies the eligibility criteria to serve on the board, the process by which board directors are appointed, a rotation of appointing authorities, and the powers and duties of the board.
Once appointed, a board is authorized to present to the registered electors of the district a question of whether the district is authorized to levy and collect a sales and use tax, a property tax, or both, in amounts determined by the board.
The bill directs the board to distribute the proceeds of any district tax revenue to essential services providers that provide services to at-risk youth. After deductions for administrative expenses, a board is required to distribute 60% of the tax revenue to the local CASA program in the district and to the child advocacy center in the district as determined by the board. The board is required to distribute the remaining 40% of the tax revenue to other essential services providers through a grant program.
An essential services provider that receives a distribution of tax revenue is required to use the money for one or more of the following purposes:
- Programs that address the health, safety, wellness, and mental health of at-risk youth;
- Programs that provide services for unhoused at-risk youth;
- Programs that support at-risk youth in the judicial system;
- Programs that provide forensic support, including the administration costs of providing such support; or
- The construction of capital facilities for the provision of essential services.
An essential services provider that receives a distribution of tax revenue is prohibited from using the revenue for day care, data collection, school-based education, or fitness and recreational programming.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)