County to consider facilities districts in unincorporated areas to combat budget shortfalls

RIVERSIDE – As a possible solution for covering the extra costs of services in unincorporated areas of Riverside County, the board of supervisors approved a plan to analyze the creation of specially designated districts Tuesday, Aug. 29.

“This is simply asking staff to dive in a little further to see what options there are going forward,” Supervisor Kevin Jeffries, who introduced the proposal, said. “We might be able to identify some mechanism for greater revenues to support services.”

Jeffries’ directive, which the board approved 4-0 with Supervisor John Tavaglione absent, is for the Office of County Counsel, the Assessor-Clerk-Recorder, the Office of the Treasurer-Tax Collector and other agencies to determine whether establishing community facilities districts where new housing developments are planned might secure county revenue for roads, public lighting, water infrastructure and public safety services within each development – without putting increased pressure on the general fund.

The supervisor noted that community facilities districts have been successfully used in many locations to cover costs of functions that are exclusively beneficial to the people or businesses within those areas. He cited lighting maintenance districts and county service areas as other examples.

Jeffries displayed rough calculations indicating that the expense of funding public safety activities in unincorporated communities was three times more than what the county receives in property tax revenue from those residents.

“You can see the shortfall,” the supervisor said.

His goal, if the analyses pan out, would be to designate areas where subdivisions are in the works as community facilities districts, with property owners obligated – and informed in advance of the need – to pay a yearly tax attached only to that district.

“This is a very reasonable request,” Supervisor Chuck Washington said. “Less than 400,000 of the county’s residents live in unincorporated areas. It can be difficult to provide services to them. I’m always willing to listen to another way of getting business done.”

Supervisor Marion Ashley said he was similarly impressed, lauding Jeffries’ idea as “a great undertaking” as the county struggles to erase a structural budget deficit.

“We need to hold our own and come out ahead,” he said. “But we also need to be careful and make sure people aren’t paying twice for the same service.”

The complete analysis is slated to be returned for board consideration before year’s end.

One Response to "County to consider facilities districts in unincorporated areas to combat budget shortfalls"

  1. michelle batson   September 18, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    The local small farmers need to prevail in Riverside County over big commercial growers for so many reasons. To me personally it is of #1 importance because I am one of those small local farmers in unincorporated Riverside County. If allowed to stay and increase my crop size my taxes would be going to the county for use in my district. By being allowed to grow outdoors or in a greenhouse and being able to capitalize on the sun’s natural resources farms will not be the resource monster consumer that is found in indoor grows.

    Small farms will maintain safety and quality of each and every harvest, A large corporation will not operate like a farm, they are managed businesses and executives probably won’t live in the community, they won’t know or care how they can help the community, they will only care about staying on some arbitrary grow schedule and not the actual plants schedule and getting the biggest paydays on time. Not only will the quality and safety of cannabis deteriorate, but you will hurt the local economy and put more of a drain on an already weak community by putting the farmer out of work and most likely out of their homes. The security for a farm is extensive camera systems with off site viewing so it is likely crime will decrease in the vicinity of a farm. The local small farmer lives and works in the same location and have a large stake in the the surrounding community.

    I believe that being able to cultivate cannabis is a privilege and I am willing to pay for the privilege as long as it is a fair payment. I am an agricultural business I am asking to be treated like one. I am a small business with limited assets please remember that when you set fees and taxes. I am an adult person with the ability to determine if I use cannabis, please treat me like that adult.

    Reply

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