Opinion: Olympic Valley fiscal report seriously flawed | SierraSun.com

Opinion: Olympic Valley fiscal report seriously flawed

Fred Ilfeld
Special to the Sun

As you may know, last week Placer County Local Agency Formation Commission released a preliminary draft of the Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis for the proposed incorporation of Olympic Valley.

We are disappointed in what we view as a seriously flawed document with incorrect data and premature conclusions. Incorporate Olympic Valley is working with LAFCO and its financial consultant (RSG) to improve the data and analysis.

We want a fair and unbiased document to allow a reliable basis to negotiate a revenue neu-trality agreement with Placer County, to provide a credible basis for LAFCO's decision whether to allow an election on our incorporation proposal, and to allow our community to make a well informed decision about incorporation.

Here are several examples of problems with the CFA:

“The report of my death was an exaggeration”Mark Twain, May 1897

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Five of the six cities used to determine our expenses are not comparable to our situation; they are full service cities with their own police, fire, and sewer services with full-time employees with expensive benefits and pensions.

These five cities have an average of 123 municipal employees. We are small, only 1,000 res-idents, and plan to be a "contract" city, in which most of our services are contracted out to ob-tain the level of services our community wants and can afford at lower cost than the county has committed to via its agreements with its unions and its pension decisions.

Consequently, our number of town employees and their expense, and the costs for legal counsel and insurance are grossly overstated.

The 30 percent reserve fund being proposed by RSG is way higher than the 10 percent rec-ommended by the Governor's Office of Planning and Research Incorporation Guidelines — the legal authority on the subject, and the 17 percent recommended by the Government Fi-nance Officers Association.

Inflated service costs like this wrongly appear to cast a dark and inaccurate shadow over in-corporation viability.

Compared to the six other towns in Placer County, Olympic Valley has the highest amount of revenue per resident by far, even after subtracting away the TOT revenues destined for North Tahoe.

According to the preliminary draft CFA, Olympic Valley would receive revenues of $3,400 per resident in our first year of full operation.

The next closest "wealthy" city is Roseville, with revenues of $1,000 per resident, and the numbers for the other towns go down from there.

Colfax, the Placer city closest to us, has double our population and less than one-fifth our revenue per resident. Loomis has seven times our population and less than one-sixth our revenues per resident.

LAFCO's attorney Bill Wright recently stated, "We consider the CFA to be a fluid document that will be likely be revised several times."

We are confident that with the appropriate corrections the final CFA will show Olympic Valley to be financially viable.

You can help. There will be a public workshop on this preliminary draft CFA at the LAFCO commission hearing on June 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the Tahoe City PUD (221 Fairway Drive), the new building behind the Chevron.

High attendance by local residents is important to show support for incorporation and convey to the commissioners how significant this document is to the incorporation process and to our community.

Have your voice heard. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay tuned.

Dr. Fred Ilfeld is chairman of Incorporate OV Foundation visit IncorporateOlympicValley.org to learn more.