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In evaluating whether a special benefit is conferred to property by the services for which the assessment is imposed, the test is not whether the services confer a unique benefit or are different in type or degree from the benefit provided to the community as a whole; rather, the test is whether there is a logical relationship between the services provided and the benefit to real property.
Respondent property owners filed suit seeking to invalidate petitioner county's special assessments for fire protection and solid waste disposal services. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of petitioner. The court of appeal affirmed the summary judgment as to the solid waste disposal assessment. However, the court of appeal found that the fire protection assessment was invalid because the services provided no special benefit to the assessed properties different from benefits provided the community as a whole. The court of appeal certified as a question of great public importance whether the assessments were valid. Respondents appealed.
Did the assessments provide a special benefit to the assessed properties?
The court reworded the question as whether the assessments provided a special benefit to the assessed properties, answered the question in the affirmative, and quashed the portion of the decision of the court of appeals ruling the fire protection services assessment invalid. The assessment provided a special benefit to the assessed properties through, at a minimum, lower insurance premiums and enhanced property value.