New consultant recommended for Olympic Valley town effort | SierraSun.com

New consultant recommended for Olympic Valley town effort

Margaret Moran
mmoran@sierrasun.com

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — While the process to incorporate Olympic Valley was derailed when the consultant chosen to perform a fiscal study pulled out, things appear to be back on track.

Santa Ana, Calif.-based RSG is recommended to replace Citygate Associates to analyze the proposed town's financial feasibility, Kristina Berry, executive officer of Placer County Local Agency Formation Commission, said Wednesday.

The commission will vote on approving the consultant at its Oct. 8 meeting.

Citygate's contract was not to exceed $51,750, which included one alternative boundary analysis. RSG's bid is $81,460, plus $3,900 for reimbursable expenses, Berry said.

Incorporation proponents, Incorporate Olympic Valley, are responsible for paying the fee in full.

"This is required of any incorporation," Berry explained at last month's Placer LAFCO meeting. "… First, (you have to show) it's economically viable to incorporate — there's sufficient revenues to incorporate."

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HOW IT WORKS

In its proposal, RSG projects collecting data from October through December, with a draft report completed in January 2015, Berry said.

The draft report will be used by IOV and Placer County representatives in revenue neutrality discussions, which could start in February 2015, according to RSG.

"They go into discussions with the county that they … won't be a financial burden on the county," Berry said. "… Revenue neutrality is also sometimes termed 'alimony' — the city or town would end up having to make a payment over say a 20 year timeframe to the county to offset some of the impacts to the county."

For an additional $10,500, RSG has offered to draw up terms for the revenue neutrality discussions, Berry said. While that service is not moving forward for approval, it could be added later.

If an agreement is reached, ratification will be by resolution of the Placer County Board of Supervisors, and a letter from the proponents. If one isn't reached, it's recommended LAFCO staff draft proposed revenue neutrality terms and conditions.

RSG projects completion of a final financial report by March 2015, Berry said.

'WHAT THE LAW SAYS'

Sacramento-based Raney Planning and Management, acting as LAFCO's on-call environmental consultant, is determining the extent of environmental study needed for incorporation, Berry said.

If a full Environmental Impact Report is needed, LAFCO may hire a separate consultant to do the analysis, which IOV would fund.

LAFCO may approve, conditionally approve or deny the incorporation proposal based on a variety of factors.

"Let's say the fiscal analysis is positive … and the county won't be harmed, and you get through the environmental process …. (and) whatever impacts identified are adequately mitigated, I think there's a belief by some people that LAFCO has to approve it and send it to a vote," said LAFCO legal counsel Bill Wright. "That's not what the law says. … Essentially, it'll require LAFCO … to determine that the town is the best means of providing services to the area. That means they are going to have to weigh whether or not services are adequately provided by the county currently."

Services proposed by IOV include fire protection by Squaw Valley Public Service District and Calfire (no change); land use planning and regulation by the town (changing from Placer County); and snow removal, roads maintenance and public works by the town (changing from Placer County).

DOWN THE ROAD

Should LAFCO deny the proposal, a similar proposal cannot be started for at least one year, according to the agency. The commission may waive that condition if it's found to be detrimental to public interest, however.

If approved, any person or affected agency may file a written request for reconsideration within 30 days.

If approved, incorporation is usually placed on the ballot of the next general election, although a special election can be requested.

In the event of a special election, and incorporation is approved by a majority vote, the new town would be responsible for paying special election costs. If incorporation fails, the county absorbs the cost.

If incorporation passes, the effective date is usually the start of a fiscal year, Berry said. If incorporation fails in the election, a similar proposal cannot be filed for two years.