A settlement has been reached in lawsuits between Sacramento County and the city of Citrus Heights over costs to be paid by the new city related to its incorporation.
Citrus Heights incorporated in January 1997, and before incorporation had agreed to pay the county $5.6 million in installments for 25 years. That amount was the county's "profit" from taxes after paying for all services in the area during the period Citrus Heights was unincorporated. The new city was to pay a projected total of $140 million over 25 years (see CP&DR, April 1998).
Under the terms of the settlement, Citrus Heights is to pay $2.2 million the first year, and a projected $80 million over the next 25 years. The money will come from property tax revenues. Since property tax revenue is first paid to the county, the money cannot be held up by the city.
"Essentially, the city is giving up its property taxes," said Ruthann Ziegler, the city's attorney.
The original $5.6 million figure was based on expected tax revenues from Sunrise Mall, which is no longer doing as well. New shopping areas outside the city limits are drawing shoppers away from the mall, and more competition from other shopping centers is expected. A Local Agency Formation Commission official who prepared the calculation later admitted it was wrong. A county analysis done in 1997 found that the correct figure should have been $5.1 million, said county supervisor Roger Dickinson.
Citrus Heights officials refused to make the first payment after incorporation, and the county sued in November 1997. The city then countersued.
Dickinson cast the lone vote on the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors against the settlement. He said it would set a bad precedent for negotiating with other areas of the county that want to incorporate. Almost two-thirds of the county's 1 million residents live in unincorporated areas.
Dickinson also said that the settlement wasn't fair since Citrus Heights wasn't paying what it should. "People in Citrus Heights get an enhanced level of municipal services while other people in the county get a decline," he said.
Dickinson also said that ballot language that voters agreed to when they voted to incorporate made it clear that it would cost the city $5.6 million a year. But Ziegler said the city seriously questioned the legality and constitutionality of the conditions imposed on its incorporation.
The Citrus Heights lawsuits were significant because few cities have incorporated since 1992. That year, the Legislature enacted a revenue-neutrality law which requires cities to be fiscally viable to incorporate. Cities are prohibited from incorporating if the incorporation would have a negative fiscal effect on a county. The law has essentially stopped incorporations.
The dispute, and the desire for other communities throughout the state to incorporate, led to the introduction of several bills in the legislature. One bill, AB 2147 by Assemblyman Bruce Thompson, R-Fallbrook, would repeal the revenue neutrality law. It passed the assembly, and was sent to the Senate Local Government Committee where no hearing datewas set. Several areas in Southern Orange County, near Thompson's district, are interested in incorporating.
Under the Citrus Heights settlement agreement, the county was assured that the city would not use future redevelopment areas to siphon off property taxes that the county was expecting.
Ziegler said that the agreement includes a "reopener clause" if there is a major shift in the way property taxes and city revenue are received by the city, such as if changes are made in the way revenue is distributed by the state government.
Supervisor Roger Dickinson, (916) 874-5485.
Ruthann Ziegler, Kronick Moskovitz, (916)321-4500
Deep in the heart of John Steinbeck country, city folks, rural folks, farmers, businesses and everyone in between are still waging dubious battle over control of Monterey County land. After an 11-year process, a general plan update was unanimously approved by the county's Board of Supervisors on October 26.
One of the least scenic ways to visit Napa Valley is to enter from the south, through the industrial zone between the cities of American Canyon and Napa. The congested traffic and office parks near Highway 221 are a long ways from the idyllic pastoral stretches to the north.
Residents of the Riverside County city of Temecula, which has been among the state's fastest growing cities for 20 years, have run into some growth they do not want. City leaders and local residents are opposing a proposed quarry located one mile south of the city limits near the San Diego County line.
Construction is underway on San Jose's Communications Hill, a 500-acre infill project that supporters are promoting as a large-scale, walkable, urban neighborhood. Early indications are that there is a great demand for the new houses, townhouses and apartments, but the easy access to transit and retail areas that might make the neighborhood truly walkable are lacking thus far.
With its well-paying high-tech jobs, close commuting proximity to Sacramento, a scenic location on the American River, ample supplies of new housing and a quaint downtown, Folsom has many assets. Because of those advantages, the city on the eastern edge of Sacramento County has attracted hordes of newcomers in recent years. As a result, schools are overcrowded and the city is rapidly running out of land.
Two events will shape Stanislaus County planning and development issues this year: a proposed ballot initiative to rein in urban sprawl, and a plan to encourage business development in an unincorporated community north of Modesto.
Proponents of the farmland-protection initiative have until May 11 to gather signatures to place it on the November ballot after the county Board of Supervisors refused to do so. Sponsored by the group GOAL (Growth: Orderly, Affordable, and Livable), the measur...
Dairy expansions in the southern San Joaquin Valley have slowed after Attorney General Bill Lockyer submitted legal challenges and an environmental group filed lawsuits. Lockyer and environmentalists have forced local planning departments to examine their practices in approving dairies, and to begin preparing environmental impact reports.
"The issue seems to be focussing on cumulative impact," said Leonard
Garoupa, Madera County's planning director.
Prior to Lockyer's involvement and lawsuits fi...
A pilot program is underway in San Diego County to self-certify the county's housing element, as well as the housing elements for each of its 18 cities. But despite San Diego's receiving the autonomy desired by many local jurisdictions, the allocation of low-income units continues to hamper the planning process.
The state-approved program was designed to give local governments more flexibility in meeting affordable housing goals and avoiding oversight by the state Department of Housing and Com...
No sooner had the fast-growing San Joaquin County city of Tracy settled a lawsuit and agreed to set up a joint powers authority on traffic issues than it was hit with a second lawsuit challenging its water supply and other facets of another huge development.
In December, Tracy, Alameda County, the nearby city of Livermore, and the Sierra Club announced a settlement to a lawsuit brought over traffic issues raised by the city's approval of the 5,000-unit Tracy Hills project. Under the settlement, the J...
Efforts to build retail centers in the Inland Empire city of Redlands have all the drama and twists and turns of a soap opera these days. Jilted suitors seeking justice, promises made and then broken, dashed hopes ï¿½ and the arrest of one popular shopping center developer ï¿½ are all part of a long-running battle over development in the slow-growth, upscale city. Not surprisingly, the matter has ended up in court. At least eight lawsuits have been filed. The city's legal fees so far are approxi...
Expansion plans for Santa Cruz's beach boardwalk amusement park have been on a roller coaster ride for months, with election results in November's city council races expected to offer a public referendum on the city council's recent decision to limit the huge plan.
One of the last undeveloped regions of San Francisco Bay Area land - eastern Contra Costa County - is booming so much that a county supervisor has asked local cities to consider a temporary halt to residential growth.
Eastern Contra Costa County, with its rich delta topsoil, is where the Central Valley meets the Bay Area. For years, agriculture was the main industry in this area east of Mount Diablo and south of the Sacramento River-San Joaquin River Delta. The region is made up of the local citi...