The City of Rancho Mirage is considered to be a “no-property-tax” City. The City did not have a separate property tax rate prior to the voter enactment of Proposition 13 in 1978 and is, therefore, prohibited from imposing one without a vote of the citizens. Thus, additional property tax revenue generated by development projects within the City, but not within the boundaries of the Rancho Mirage Redevelopment Agency, is not remitted to the City’s General Fund. Instead, it is remitted to other taxing agencies such as Riverside County, school districts and other special districts. The only exception to this relates to land annexed to the City after June 30, 1980. In this instance, the City’s General Fund receives 25% of the County’s 30% share or 7.5% of the property taxes paid by those specific property owners. As a result, the City’s General Fund only received 8.4% of its total revenue from property tax.
The Rancho Mirage Redevelopment Agency encompasses close to 62% of the total acreage of the City. Additional property tax revenue resulting from increased assessed valuation within the boundaries of the Redevelopment Agency is remitted to the Redevelopment Agency and is known as tax increment revenue. After meeting requirements for pass-through payments to other taxing agencies, the 20% set-aside for low and moderate income housing, debt service payments and administrative fees, the balance of tax increment revenue is transferred to the Whitewater and Northside Capital Project Funds for both capital and operating purposes.
While the residential base is the single greatest asset of the community, the prestigious image of Rancho Mirage has also been enhanced by major non-residential uses including three resort hotels – Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa, The Ritz Carlton and Westin Mission Hills; Eisenhower Medical Center, the Betty Ford Center and The River at Rancho Mirage entertainment and retail center. These facilities are considered to be of the highest quality level with some receiving both national as well as international recognition. These uses, in conjunction with the strong residential base, have allowed Rancho Mirage to become a prominent community within the Coachella Valley.
Rancho Mirage was one of the first communities in the Coachella Valley to capitalize on the demand for high quality residential/resort housing units in the Valley. As such, the City has traditionally had the unique advantage of widespread name recognition as one of the most affluent residential communities in the Valley. Within the context of continued growth within the Coachella Valley, the vast amount of vacant available land creates competition throughout the Valley for desirable new development types. Construction in Rancho Mirage in this last year amounted to over $60 million in building permit valuations. Single family residential construction totaled over $21 million, commercial and other construction, including additions, renovations and energy saving equipment upgrades, totaled over $39 million. Currently, various residential projects, retail developments, medical facilities, office and hotel developments are in various stages of the planning process.