Olympic Valley incorporation process on hold for CA Controller review | SierraSun.com

Olympic Valley incorporation process on hold for CA Controller review

Margaret Moran
mmoran@sierrasun.com

OLYMPIC VALLEY., Calif. — A request by the grassroots group spearheading the incorporation effort of Olympic Valley for state review will be honored, putting a temporary halt to the town formation process.

On Aug. 12, the Placer Local Agency Formation Commission voted 6-1 to approve Incorporate Olympic Valley's request for the California State Controller's Office to review the latest financial document analyzing the proposed town.

Commissioner and vice chair Jim Holmes was the lone 'no' vote, said Kristina Berry, Placer County LAFCO executive officer.

The commission approved IOV's request not because it found the revised draft Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis prepared by Rosenow Spevacek Group Inc. to be flawed, she added, but rather to honor the group's request and address concerns about the document.

Since its release in May and its subsequent revision dated July 24, IOV has criticized the draft CFA, stating that several assumptions used in the analysis are flawed.

All versions of the report conclude that the proposed town "does not appear to be feasible at this time."

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"We are confident that the State Controller will confirm and resolve errors made by RSG," said Fred Ilfeld, chair of Incorporate OV Foundation, a financial arm of IOV. "Once corrected, we firmly believe the CFA will show the proposed town of Olympic Valley to be financially viable."

Others, however, such as Kathryn Rees, a board member for Squaw Valley Lodge — which is among several businesses that oppose incorporation — aren't as confident.

"Even if IOV assertions of error prove factual, which is debatable, it is dubious that the conclusions of the dCFA … would be altered in any material way," Rees stated.

In a Aug. 12 letter to Placer LAFCO, IOV provides a preliminary list of what it would like the State Controller's Office would like to review.

The list includes adjusting the estimated cost of law enforcement for the valley, identifying and calculating expenditures based on comparable contract cities, and calculating the general fund reserve as a percentage of the town's operating expenses rather than total general fund revenue.

IOV had until Wednesday — or five business days from the Aug. 12 meeting — to send LAFCO a formal written request of what the group would like the state to review, Berry said, which the group met.

Based on IOV's formal request, the Controller's Office will provide a cost estimate for the work, she said. It's unknown how long that may take.

From there, payment from IOV would have to be received by LAFCO in full within five business days of receiving the estimate before a review could begin, a process that could take up to 45 days.

In addition, LAFCO is allowing IOV to defer payment on the preparation of an environmental impact report to an unspecified date, Berry said.

"No further work can be done while it's being reviewed by the State Controller's anyway," she said.

In a previous meeting, LAFCO directed IOV to pay Amec Foster Wheeler's $147,000 contract in full by Aug. 12, so work on the EIR could begin.

"IOV is pleased with this parallel result, reflecting prudent decision making and process administration of the application for incorporation," Ilfeld said.

Meanwhile, Rees argues the following: " … the standard LAFCO process should be adhered for the good of all, and that special dispensations should not continue to be granted Ito OV at the expense of fair due process for the rest of us citizen representatives."

Earlier this month, Ilfeld informed LAFCO that while IOV has the funds to cover the EIR fee, the group is not willing commit such an amount based on a negative CFA conclusion.

"Our policy is not to advocate for incorporation of a town that we believe is fiscally not viable," Ilfeld said in a previous interview.

More online

Visit placer.ca.gov/departments/lafco” target=”_blank”>Bold”>placer.ca.gov/departments/lafco to view the revised CFA and several other documents and information pieces surrounding the effort to incorporate Olympic Valley.

Visit incorporateolympicvalley.org” target=”_blank”>Bold”>incorporateolympicvalley.org to learn more about the grassroots group Incorporate Olympic Valley and its mission.

Visit saveolympicvalley.org” target=”_blank”>Bold”>saveolympicvalley.org to learn more about Save Olympic Valley, a coalition of Olympic Valley residents, business owners, property owners and others that opposes incorporation.

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