Congratulations to PSAR. Your Association has been honored for its leadership role in a housing initiative that is continuing to assist disabled military veterans achieve the American dream of homeownership.
The San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA) Award, a watchdog organization that promotes accountable, cost-effective and efficient government, recently presented a Golden Watchdog Award jointly to PSAR, the San Diego chapter of the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP) and the San Diego County Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk’s Office.
The SDCTA award, called “Better Serving 100% Disabled Veterans,” recognized the efforts by PSAR officials to assist more than 8,000 local disabled veterans in 2018, an increase of 28 percent from the previous year. The award, top honors in the “Public-Private Partnership” category, was presented May 16 at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel. SDCTA’s 24th annual Golden Watchdog and Fleece Awards recognized the best and worst in local government spending, decision-making and efficiency in San Diego County.
PSAR 2019 President Robert Calloway played a key role in assisting Ernie Dronenburg, San Diego County Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk, on the program that is helping disabled military veterans achieve homeownership. Initiating the program was Jordan Marks, Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate with the Assessor’s Office.
The SDCTA award said the Assessor’s Office partnered with representatives from the disabled veterans community and PSAR to educate the community about a little-used California property tax exemption for disabled veterans and their spouses. Under an initiative that promoted homeownership, housing affordability and property tax refunds, the County served more than 1,400 more disabled veterans than the previous year. As a result of the program, disabled veteran homeowners benefited from $1.9 million annually in annual property tax savings.
The little-known California property tax exemption, California Constitution and Revenue and Taxation Code Section 205.5, provides a property tax exemption on the home of some disabled veterans or an unmarried spouse of a deceased disabled veteran. The exemption is available to a disabled veteran who, because of an injury incurred in military service, is blind in both eyes, or has lost the use of two or more limbs, or is totally disabled as determined by the VA or by the military service from which the veteran was discharged.
The SDCTA entry for the Golden Watchdog award said: “To increase program participation, the Assessor’s Office partnered with Robert Calloway, a Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption (DVET) recipient, and his two organizations, including PSAR and VAREP, to educate REALTORS®, veterans organizations and the community about this benefit for qualified disabled veterans and their spouses. This program, started in March 2018, was conducted without using any additional taxpayer dollars. This program leveraged private partnerships, speakers from the Assessor’s Office, media outreach, cross-county department education and resources from already budgeted campaigns.
SDCTA said through Calloway’s leadership and partnership with the Assessor’s Taxpayers’ Rights Office, a campaign demonstrating collaboration among the public and private sector and promoting the DVET exemption resulted in a savings for qualified veterans or spouses of up to $2,002 annually off their property taxes. This program helps veterans achieve homeownership, allows them to stay in their homes and, in some cases, receive refunds of close to $10,000 for property taxes.
Calloway, who serves as an advisor to the Assessor’s Office on disabled veterans issues, said, “This award from the Taxpayers Association is a great honor for PSAR, VAREP and the overall real estate community. We are ready to help local government officials anytime with advice and assistance that will help all homeowners, including disabled military veterans who have given so much and risked so much in service of the nation.”
“It was an honor and a pleasure working with Robert and PSAR,” said Dronenburg, who has served as County Assessor since 2010. “It was especially gratifying to help disabled veterans, these modern-day heroes who have selflessly shared so much and have sacrificed some of the best years of their lives, putting themselves in harm’s way to fight for liberty and keep everyone safe.”
As the County Assessor, Dronenburg oversees assessing the value of real estate and personal property, which in San Diego includes planes and boats. Every county resident who owns property or rents is affected by what happens at Dronenburg’s office. He oversees assessing the value of real estate and personal property, which in San Diego includes planes and boats. Property taxes constitute the largest share of revenue for the county. His work also involves registering business names and issuing marriage licenses, birth and death certificates. The office has a $71 million budget with 405 employees and five offices in San Diego County. Dronenburg was re-elected in June 2014, when he received 59 percent of the vote, and in June 2018, when he received 63 percent of the vote, resulting in no runoff elections either year.
For the past 73 years, the SDCTA has been providing information to help educate the public and safe the region’s taxpayers millions. Public opinion polls consistently rate the SDCTA as the most “influential” and “trusted” public policy institution in San Diego.
-- PSAR 2019 President Robert Calloway poses with Ernie Dronenburg, San Diego County Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk (wearing bow tie) and William Jimenez, Division Chief, County Assessor’s Office.
-- PSAR 2019 President Robert Calloway poses with San Diego County Assessor’s Office staff who worked with San Diego disabled military veterans on the Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption.