Information found here was presented at the community meeting on Saturday October 27th at Calvary Temple in Bay Point.
Residents for a
Better Bay Point
Community Information Meeting
October 27, 2007
1. Steve Hoagland welcomed everyone and presented the background as to why the residents group got started as an information-gathering process to determine if there is a desire by the community and a benefit to annexing to the City of Pittsburg. (copy of Steve’s presentation attached)
2. Introduction of Speakers
3. Lou Ann Texeira, Executive Officer from the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) gave attendees a lesson in LAFCO 101 on the process for bringing annexation issues, etc., to LAFCO and what guidelines must be used as established and governed by the Cortese Knox Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 (Government Code). She provided a handout defining: What’s a LAFCO?; Forces Driving Boundary Changes; what the State Legislature directs LAFCO to do; What does LAFCO do?; what LAFCO does as a planning agency; what LAFCO does as a regulatory agency; and what LAFCO has no jurisdication over. She also handed out a flow chart of the steps followed to file a Notice of Intent to Circulate a Petition, which included the steps necessary for protests. Points of interest:
· Since the City of Pittsburg has included all of Bay Point within their sphere of influence, there is no way another city could include Bay Point in their sphere of influence (e.g., Concord). The sphere of influence would have to be removed through the LAFCO process.
· There are three ways annexation can take place: 1) by a resolution of an agency (e.g., City of Pittsburg); 2) by a petition of 5% of registered voters; or, 3) by a petition of 5% of the owners of assessed value of land.
· There was a Notice of Intent to Circulate a Petition filed in July 2007 by Steve Hoagland, which is just the first step in a very long process. In order to give more residents a say in the outcome, Steve filed a Notice of Intent for registered voters instead of property owners. Once the first signature is gathered, there is a six-month period for completing the signature-gathering process (this has not been started).
· The Application consists of:
- the actual application form
- Tax Sharing Agreement (between Contra Costa and the City of Pittsburg)
- environmental review (either a Negative Declaration or an Environmental Impact Study)—CEQA requires an analysis of the impact on bringing the area into the City of Pittsburg. The City may be the lead or LAFCO may.
- pre-zoning—the City of Pittsburg would have to pre-zone the area to be annexed (Marc Grisham, Pittsburg City Manager, later stated that Pittsburg would use the County’s existing zoning).
- prepare the map and legal description that will go to the California State Board of Equalization
- the plan for providing muncipal services, e.g, water, sewage treatment, trash collection, etc. (prepared by the City of Pittsburg)
Many of these components have price tags and fees. Lou Ann reiterated that it is a lengthy and costly process.
· Once it gets to LAFCO, it will be determined to be complete and a hearing will be held. There would be a total of two hearings and public testimony will be held. There are 15 factors to be reviewed by LAFCO. The newspaper would print an announcement of hearings. There were questions as to which newspapers would be publishing the hearing announcement (Contra Costa Times and the Pittsburg Press). There were requests that it also appear in Spanish and possible mailings. Lou Ann stated that every effort is made to publish the notice in as many local places as possible, keeping in mind there are only two staff for LAFCO and a limited budget. So individual mailings would be cost prohibitive. (Marc Grisham, City Manager of Pittsburg, stated at that point that the City would assist in this effort to ensure the hearing is widely publicized). Lou Ann stated that anyone can request e-mail notification by requesting that through the LAFCO website.
· If, after the first hearing, it is approved, there will be a second hearing where the protests will be counted (either registered voters or land owners). The posting for the hearing will be 21 days prior and it will be held in the community of Bay Point. Staff will conduct that hearing. If there is a large number, the names will be submitted to the Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters for validation. If the number of protest signatures reaches 25% of registered voters or 25% of owners of assessed value of land, the annexation issue will go to the voters in Bay Point. If that percentage reaches 50% or more, the annexation is terminated. After a year, a new application could be submitted.
Question: Why is there a requirement of only 5% of registered voters/owners of assessed value of land to bring this to LAFCO, but there is a much larger percentage required for a protest?
Answer: That is a legislated issue and can’t be changed by LAFCO.
Lou Ann stated that Steve Hoagland is putting together a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and it would be placed on the website for Residents for a Better Bay Point (ABetterBayPoint@yahoo.com).
4. Marc Grisham, Pittsburg City Manager—Marc also introduced his Assistant City Manager who was present, Matt Rodriguez. He stated that from Pittsburg’s point of view, they are looking at this the same way as the residents of Bay Point—Is annexation of Bay Point in the best interest of the City of Pittsburg. He stated that the City is looking first at what it costs to run the community of Bay Point. There had been a handout from an attendee from the County Administrators Office (CAO), County Service Costs for Bay Point (FY 2006-07) (there was no opportunity to question the figures on the handout). Marc stated that it is every resident’s right to know how their tax dollars are spent and encouraged them to question the County and get those numbers. He stated that any citizen can go to Pittsburg City Hall to get that same information as it is public information. Marc stated that the City is working with the County to get the numbers for review and stated that the community also needs that information in order to make an informed decision. He also stated that the PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Manross would also be put on the Pittsburg website soon. When questioned regarding the Sheriff and deputies that work in Bay Point, Marc stated that he has a good relationship with Sheriff Rupf and he works well with him. It is in the best interest of both the City of Pittsburg and the Sheriff’s office to continue working together as they have in the past in order to respond to the needs of the community. Marc postponed answering any additional questions until after Dr. Manross’ presentation.
Dr. George Manross, Strategy Research Institute (SRI), gave some background on himself and stated that SRI does a lot of work with communities throughout the area. SRI was commissioned by the City of Pittsburg to conduct a benchmark scientific survey, Desirability of Merging Bay Point into the City of Pittsburg. Dr. Manross stated that the original intent was to random sample 200 residents, but that number was reduced to 100 because of the length of the interviews. The original estimate was for a 20-minute interview, but residents often carried it to 30-40 minutes. Every attempt was made to capture all comments by interviewees. Dr. Manross stands behind the accuracy of this survey and while most surveys are generally within 3-4%, SRI’s track record is usually within 1-2%.
According to the survey, a majority of Bay Point residents (52%) support Residents for a Better Bay Point in their movement toward annexation to the City of Pittsburg. The residents who support the merger, cite three primary benefits that would result:
· enhanced public safety
· economic development in Bay Point
· better services for residents compared to those being delivered through the County
It was pointed out that this is certainly not a mandate for annexation. A prominent concern with some of the interviewees was whether or not annexation would result in higher property taxes. It was a common sentiment that residents want better and more services; however, they don’t want their taxes to increase.
Dr. Manross presented PowerPoint findings from the survey that was taken and stated that his presentation would be accessed soon through the City of Pittsburg’s website. The issues of most concern to residents are (in rank order):
· the need to improve Bay Point’s image
· the quality of education being provided to local youth
· the state of the local economy (specifically, a need for more jobs for local residents)
· the need for more organized activities for local youth
Recommendations—Residents for a Better Bay Point should:
· maintain open dialog with stakeholders
· inform Bay Point residents of benefits of merger (once they’re known)
· work toward building consensus among residents of Bay Point
Recommendations—Pittsburg City officials should:
· secure input from Pittsburg residents
· encourage Bay Point residents to monitor the impact(s) from the City of Pittsburg annexing Ambrose Park into Pittsburg
· take formal action on the merger when consensus is demonstrated among Bay Point and Pittsburg residents
Question: Is the Sheriff currently without a contract? Some of the deputies have indicated they are working without one
Answer: (by LT Mahoney) No, the Sheriff has a contract and is about to begin negotiations for the next one.
Question: A private company currently provides water service. Bay Point also has some of the highest water rates around. Would Pittsburg take over the water services?
Answer: Annexation normally takes over services as they are. As contracts come up (e.g., trash collection), that is the time they would be reviewed. The water service in Bay Point is by a private company and there is a cost factor in taking over the existing water company. Pittsburg provides water to their city themselves and that would be something they’d be interested in for Bay Point as well. It would all be subject to review.
Marc pointed out that Pittsburg has an Economic Development Director who provides assistance to their own businesses. The County does not offer that service. A needs assessment is periodically conducted via a survey of residents and one is planned to be done in January 2008.
There were a number of comments and unease was voiced over the perception of MAC members having a trip paid for by the City of Pittsburg. Marc reiterated that perception needs to be addressed since often perception will persist even after the facts are known. He stated that nothing was conducted in private except fact finding, that this meeting is the first opportunity to bring anything to the public because they wanted to conduct the survey first. Up until now, there was no information to share. The City of Pittsburg is still awaiting County information in order to assess the potential of annexation and there are no firm answers yet. An additional survey will be taken further down the road of the residents of Bay Point as well after more opportunity for information sharing with the residents. As stated previously, there will be FAQs set up on the Residents for a Better Bay Point website to answer those questions that come up the most often. Residents are encouraged to share information they’ve gotten at this meeting with their neighbors and friends and to access the website(s) for all the information shared at the meeting today.
6. Sign up members for Residents group—forms were available for residents to sign up for Residents for a Better Bay Point
7. Close meeting—The meeting was concluded at approximately 1:10 p.m.
I want to welcome you all. This is a meeting being put on by Residents for a Better Bay Point.
The plan, today, is to provide you with an overview of the recent activities that the Residents for a Better Bay Point have been involved with, of late, having to do with the possibility of Bay Point merging with the
City of Pittsburg. We also have with us, today, the Executive Director of LAFCO…as well the City Manager of Pittsburg. So, this is a terrific opportunity for you to get answers to whatever questions you may have on your mind regarding the matter at hand.
First, we will make a couple of brief presentations. Then, we will open the floor to questions. At that point, please raise your hand and we will take questions one at a time.
For me, the process began with the idea of Bay Point becoming a City of its own; this was about 18 months ago. I asked our County Supervisor, Federal Glover, to host a meeting to talk about the possibility of Bay Point becoming a city. He arranged the meeting and brought with him BOTH Contra Costa County and LAFCO officials in order to give us a good sense of what would be involved.
One thing that was made clear at that meeting was that Bay Point is, clearly, within the sphere of influence of the City of Pittsburg. Beyond that, we learned that there is NOT a sufficient retail tax base in Bay Point to support becoming an incorporated City, to itself.
We also learned about a mechanism called Community Service Districts, or CSD’s; when I looked into these as an alternative to becoming our own City, it turned out that CSD’s come with there own set of challenges.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle is the fact that a CSD would involve asking local voters to approve additional taxes to provide funding for services that are already being provided to Bay Point residents through the County. For example, I was extremely interested in additional police services for Bay Point. As you know, at the present time, there are 10 deputy sheriffs assigned to our community; if we wanted to add 10 more officers for Bay Point through a CSD, we would have to pay the costs for all 20 officers. Clearly, that did not make sense. Why? Because, through the taxes we are presently paying to the County, we are presently funding the 10 officers assigned to Bay Point; therefore, if we took over the cost for all 20 police officers by creating a CSD, while it would benefit the County…Bay Point residents would, in effect, be paying twice for 10 of the 20 officers.
Following this initial meeting, I was asked by the then chair of the MAC to go with her to a LAFCO meeting and to make a presentation about our great community. I happily did this. Following my presentations, one of the commissioners, who is also a County Supervisor, said that we would be well advised to look at all possible solutions …one of these being, working with our neighbors to the east. In other words, consider the benefits of allowing Bay Point to be annexed into the City of Pittsburg.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I was anti Pittsburg; so, hearing this was like being given codliver oil. After we left that meeting, I let the idea stew for a while. Not long after that meeting, I had a meeting on an entirely different matter with the Pittsburg City Manager, Marc Grisham,. At the end of that meeting, we talked about how the merger of Bay Point and Pittsburg might benefit BOTH communities and, in fact, the entire region.
That was when I decided to organize a group of community leaders in Bay Point to look into the possibility of Bay Point merging with the City of Pittsburg; this group became knows as, Residents for a Better Bay Point.
We did our homework, keeping in mind that whatever we did would have to benefit ALL Bay Point residents. Toward that end, we initially identified 27 elements that we thought would merit serious consideration; at the end of the day, 25 of the 27 were selected…which comprise our agenda, today. We then began the journey.
One of the things we’ve learned came out of a trip we took to southern California; specifically, to the City of Encinitas. We were concerned about how the community of Bay Point can retain its identify, while becoming part of a larger city, such as Pittsburg.
As we toured the City of Encinitas, we drove by signs that said, “Welcome to Cardiff by the Sea, a community of the City of Encinitas” Encinitas City officials use separate letterhead when corresponding with residents in the various sections of the City; for example, if you reside in Cardiff by the Sea and you receive correspondence from the City Manager, it will be written on Cardiff by the Sea letterhead. In addition to a communitywide Chamber of Commerce, each community within the City of Encinitas has its own Chamber of Commerce that promotes those businesses in their respective community. So, in addition to the Encinitas Chamber, there is a Cardiff by the Sea Chamber of Commerce.
The trip to southern California was paid for by the City of Pittsburg; it was authorized by Contra Costa County’s legal counsel. In fact, a County employee from the County Administrator’s office came with us, who debriefed our County Supervisor when we returned home. In fact, we invited a reporter from the local media to travel with us; however, she declined.
While there, we met with elected officials and public employees, as well as with representatives of local Chamber of Commerce. We learned a great deal on this trip that will benefit Bay Point residents as we move forward from where we are, today.
You may be wondering about the status of the effort to collect signatures for placing an Initiative on the local ballot that would allow
Bay Point voters to determine whether or not we want to merge with the City of Pittsburg.
Signature gathering has NOT begun, as yet, because we are still waiting for answers to certain important questions from the County. We started this effort to learn about the process and opportunities of merging the two communities. To date, we’ve learned a great deal; that said, there are still UNKNOWNS that must be clearly understood and addressed BEFORE the signature collection process can begin.
Our group has met a number of times to discuss ideas, needs and desires for a better Bay Point…always keeping in mind the interests and needs of each and every neighborhood throughout the community.
Change is scary, but change is inevitable. You either take the bull by the proverbial horns, or get run over trying to avoid change. We decided to take the bull by the horns; that way, local stakeholders – such as everyone in this room, today – will have a say in the future of our community. And, that’s where we are at the present point in time.
Our journey is underway…but, it is far from over.That fact that you are here, today, would suggest that this is a topic that you are interested in. Therefore, if you’re not already a member, I encourage you to become a member of Residents for a Better Bay Point. To do that, simply complete one of these forms and return it to Judy or Norma at the end of today’s meeting. We would love to have the benefit of your input, thoughts, and expertise.
Now I want to introduce Lou Ann from LAFCO; she will be followed by comments from Marc Grisham, who (as you know) is the City Manager of Pittsburg. Part of Marc’s discussion, today, will be to share with you the “findings” from a scientific survey of Bay Point residents. I’m certain you will find the outcome of this community survey to be extremely interesting.
Now, permit me to introduce Lou Ann from LAFCO. Lou Ann…
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