http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2008/08/01/alamo-could-make-it-as-a-town-says-financial-report


DanvilleSanRamon.com

Newsfront - August 1, 2008

Alamo could make it as a town, says financial report

Supervisors OK revenue agreement - another move toward incorporation

by Meghan Neal

A fiscal analysis recently released found that Alamo has the financial chops to incorporate, edging the community a step closer to becoming an independent town.

A Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis was conducted for the Local Agency Formation Commission by the engineering firm Winzler and Kelly to see if incorporation would work from a financial standpoint.

"It is concluded by this analysis that the new city is considered to be fiscally feasible," it is written in the report.

The analysis found that the town of Alamo would have more than sufficient revenue and reserves to sustain the current level of service and possibly enhance service in the future. Taxes or fees would not need to be raised, according to the report.

"I think it's a favorable result," said Lou Ann Texeira, executive officer of Contra Costa LAFCO.

Based on the findings, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved on July 22 a revenue neutrality agreement between the county and the potential town of Alamo. The move marks another milestone in the incorporation process, Texeira said.

The agreement is essentially a transfer of funds. It outlines a one-year transition period during which the county would continue to provide services to the community and also retain some of the tax revenue from Alamo residents.

When the year is up, the town of Alamo would get the rest of the tax dollars. It would pay a $3 million imbursement to the county at the end of a 10-year period, to compensate for the revenue the county would lose as a result of incorporation.

Alamo's income is mainly from property tax and motor vehicle license fees, as well as roughly $900,000 per year in sales tax and some money from development fees. Though the area is mostly built out, some fees are generated from in-fill development, lot splits and parcel splits, said Texeira.

The findings are based on a few key assumptions, such as a proposed timing for incorporation of June 30 or July 1, 2009. Alamo would likely contract out law enforcement, animal control, and roads and engineering services.

The town boundary would not include the Tice Valley area, which is under Walnut Creek's sphere of influence but isn't part of the city of Walnut Creek. If also not included in incorporated Alamo, it would become an island, Texeira said. LAFCO is still discussing the issue.

"We've hit two major milestones ... with the fiscal analysis and the revenue neutrality agreement," said Textiera. "Now it's really just to gauge the public's interest."

She and the consultant who prepared the analysis will present the findings at a community meeting at 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 7, at the Creekside Church in Alamo.

The report is open to public review for a period ending Aug. 25. There will also be opportunity for public comment at the Sept. 18 LAFCO meeting at the Creekside Church.

At that meeting the agency will vote on whether to approve incorporation. If approved by LAFCO, it will be put to a vote by residents, likely in the March 2009 election.

The report can be viewed at www.contracostalafco.org. Comments should be directed to Lou Ann Texeira, Executive Officer, Contra Costa LAFCO, 651 Pine St., Sixth Floor, Martinez 94553, or faxed to 646-1228.

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