A legal battle is brewing between Orange County's tax assessor and developers over millions of dollars in project administration fees for tax-exempt public housing projects.

Municipalities throughout California have created a tax-exempt joint powers authority (JPA), which allows them to team up with housing developers—known as project administrators—on affordable workforce housing projects funded with long-term municipal bonds.

When the 30-year-bonds are paid, ownership of the properties reverts to the cities, who can refinance or sell the projects. Until then, JPAs don't pay taxes on these projects.

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