LAFCo plan stirs controversy
A letter signed by the mayor is en route to the Nevada County Local Agency Formation Commission detailing Truckee’s position on minor county boundary changes, the Truckee-Tahoe Airport District and special district consolidation in Truckee’s Sphere of Influence request.
Truckee’s Town Council approved sending the letter 4-0 (Councilman Steve Carpenter was absent) at its regular meeting last week.
Submitted to LAFCo last October, Truckee’s Sphere of Influence request has been reviewed at the staff level and by a subcommittee, according to Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook.
LAFCo will decide today (Feb. 27) if it will pursue Truckee’s sphere proposal, Lashbrook said. Both the town and LAFCo will have a series of steps to complete by September – including several public hearings – if the commission decides it wants to establish a sphere, Lashbrook added.
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.
Upon initial review Lashbrook said 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 sphere request.
In her staff report, Jones recommended TTAD be included in the Sphere of Influence. Lashbrook said Truckee’s original sphere analysis proposed just that.
“We have dealt with that and it is our decision to leave it out,” Lashbrook said, adding Truckee is in the midst of developing a memorandum of understanding with the airport district.
TTAD General Manager Peter Soderquist said he thought if the council decides to include the airport in the sphere a mixed signal would be sent to the district’s board of directors.
“I am very sorry to hear you have taken this course of action, it is not what we have agreed to,” Soderquist said at the meeting. “It is your decision, your choice and your course of action, but I think it sends a signal to the board as to the position the town will take.”
Jones also recommended the sphere request include specific language and a map detailing subdivisions that lie in both Placer and Nevada counties. The county line cuts through Sierra Meadows and the subdivision south of Donner Lake, Lashbrook said.
“The town is supportive as long as annexation is revenue neutral,” Lashbrook said, adding revenue neutral means current residents don’t foot the bill. “Nevada County would need to agree to pass through property tax similar to Truckee’s incorporation.”
As for consolidation, Jones recommended the possible merger of special districts overlapping town boundaries should at least be discussed.
Lashbrook said the town holds a neutral position on consolidation, but it would support a study of the possible merger.
“I would like a study of the efficiencies of district consolidation,” Truckee Mayor Bob Drake said. “I believe it is in the interest of good government.”
Councilman Don McCormack agreed with Drake saying, “We need to merely express our support of the analysis of this. It is a significant step to take.”
Drake said the original sphere report recommended TTAD’s inclusion but the airport board and the town decided to pursue the MOU to address the district’s land.
“I don’t think (TTAD) should be precluded from being included in a study,” Drake said. “I am just saying study it.”
Drake added the council decided to continue with the MOU, while agreeing with LAFCo’s recommendation at the same time.
In its unanimous decision, Truckee’s Town Council supported a consolidation study and investigating minor county boundary changes, while acknowledging LAFCo’s airport district recommendation. Councilmembers, however, did not change the initial stance of pursuing an MOU.
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