The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a 2,800-member real estate trade group for San Diego-area realtors with an office in El Cajon, was recently honored by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA) with a Golden Watchdog Award. The award recognized PSAR’s assistance to the San Diego County Assessor’s Office with a program that is helping disabled military veterans achieve homeownership.
The SDCTA award, in the “Public-Private Partnership” category, honored PSAR, along with the San Diego County Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk’s Office and the San Diego chapter of the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP), with assisting more than 8,000 local disabled veterans in 2018, an increase of 28 percent from the previous year. The efforts helped disabled veteran homeowners benefit from $1.9 million annually in property tax savings.
SDCTA said that PSAR 2019 President Robert Calloway played a key role in assisting Ernie Dronenburg, San Diego County Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk, on informing realtors about a little-used California property tax exemption for disabled veterans and their spouses. Jordan Marks, Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate with the Assessor’s Office, initiated the program in March 2018.
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.
In presenting the Golden Watchdog award, SDCTA 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 the DVET exemption that can result in a savings for qualified veterans or spouses of up to $2,002 annually off their property taxes.”
SDCTA said the effort demonstrated collaboration between the public and private sectors in promoting the DVET exemption, which helps veterans achieve homeownership and, in some cases, receive refunds of close to $10,000 from property taxes.
Calloway, a realtor and broker-owner of Calloway & Associates Real Estate Services, who also 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.”
PSAR, with offices in Chula Vista, El Cajon and Clairemont, provides San Diego-area realtors with MLS services through the statewide California Regional Multiple Listing Service, educational classes, advocacy, networking opportunities and resources, including lock boxes and signage. Founded in 1928, PSAR has played a significant role shaping the history, growth and development of greater San Diego County. For more info, visit www.psar.org.
SDCTA, a nonprofit, non-partisan watchdog organization, promotes accountable, cost-effective and efficient government. 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.