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Councilmembers ponder potential LAFCo questions

DAN FOSCALINA

A governmental services (consolidation) study resurfaced at last week’s town council meeting when councilmembers were asked to identify topics to be included if an evaluation of special district and town services ever comes about.

Town Manager Steve Wright said he has met with special district general managers at the request of the Nevada County Local Area Formation Commission in order to identify study topics.

The list generated from that meeting was brought back to each manager’s respective board for consideration, the town council included.

“Ultimately, the group talked about concepts as to what might be included in a study, specifically looking at positive things already being done within the community, and then how other items of coordination and cooperation might be further considered within the Truckee area to improve governmental services,” Wright said.

After town councilmembers and special district boards discussed the matter, suggestions would be merged into a proposal to present to LAFCo.

“We would present it to LAFCo to see if we are hitting the mark,” Wright said.

Sphere of Influence request

Truckee’s Sphere of Influence request was submitted to LAFCo last October and was reviewed at the staff level and by a subcommittee. Upon initial review S.R. Jones, LAFCo’s executive officer, raised three issues – consolidation, the airport district and boundary changes – for the subcommittee and LAFCo to consider when evaluating the request.

A series of heated meetings followed, pitting special districts against the Town of Truckee. The debate cooled in April after LAFCo called a meeting at the Truckee Sanitary District, when commissioners decided to postpone action on the town’s sphere request.

In its unanimous decision, LAFCo encouraged the town and special districts to meet in an informal setting and decide if a consolidation study has merit. Whatever the outcome of that forum, LAFCo, the town and the special districts will proceed from there.

Items pertinent to the study offered by councilmembers include agency size and boundaries; specialization of functions performed by county issues and taxes; analysis of organizational functions and costs, revenue and expenditure sources, administrative policies and procedures, public and employee communication practices, capital assets and financial reserves and of personnel assets.

Doubling-up of services?

Also identified by councilmembers are review of possible doubling up of services and improvement options; evaluating all rolling stock and related maintenance/service provided, organizational control, legal services and potential cost savings through cross-training; union and memorandum of understanding issues; evaluation of which agencies to study, coordination vs. consolidation options, and administrative functions.

Finally, councilmembers opted to review the impacts on agencies involved to provide pertinent information to the study; making the study objective; legal ramifications and limitations; and benefits to the community.

“This is a very contentious issue and it was considered the best way to proceed (with the study) was at the staff level to let some of the dust settle,” Councilman Don McCormack said.

So as not to have town residents think the council is rolling ahead on the consolidation issue, Councilman Josh Susman said he believed a time frame element should be added to the list.

Councilmembers directed staff to bring its list of suggestions back to the special district general mangers to be merged with suggestions from those boards, which will be presented to LAFCo.

LAFCos exist around the state and represent and assist regions in future planning and development. It reviews and approves or disapproves city incorporations, annexations, district formations, consolidations and detachments.


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