To be (a city) or not to be? Unincorporated areas will decide.
BREAKING NEWS: Financial information has been released by Los Angeles County that will be used for two studies being conducted by consultants. The studies will examine if the areas will be better off annexing into the City of Santa Clarita, forming their own city, or staying as an unincorporated section of Los Angeles County.
Over 20 years ago, when residents of the Santa Clarita Valley applied to become their own city, they asked for their boundaries to extend throughout the area, encompassing what would become Castaic, Southern Oaks, Stevenson Ranch, Sunset Pointe, Tesoro del Valle, Val Verde, and Westridge.
The Local Agency Formation Commission had other plans though, and limited the City boundaries to the areas between the I-5 and 14 freeways.
Now that the entire valley has grown, those areas outside of the original boundaries have to decide what they would like to do, and they have three options from which to choose.
Annex into Santa Clarita: By becoming a part of Santa Clarita they will be ruled by the existing City Council, as opposed to Los Angeles County. Sales tax dollars would all stay local and the City would be responsible for almost the entire population in the Santa Clarita Valley general area, thus streamlining services.
Form a separate city: This option allows the residents to form their own City and govern themselves. By choosing this option the new city would be responsible for providing public safety and city services, and would rely on the sales tax earned in their City.
Stay unincorporated: This provides no change whatsoever. Currently Los Angeles County provides their services and represents them along with other communities across the County.
In February of 2007, LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich provided the West Ranch and Castaic Town Councils with $25,000 to conduct a study that would provide them all the pros and cons of forming their own city or staying unincorporated.
Two weeks later, the Santa Clarita City Council voted to give $25,000 to pay for a separate study looking into the benefits and detriments involved with annexing into the city. .
Since then, the consultants have been waiting to receive financial data from the county that will be used in the analysis.
Now that the County has released the data, Antonovich’s office estimated it will take three months for the consultants to conduct the study and come forward with their findings.
Antonovich has also asked for an advisory vote to let the residents decide their own fate.
“Residents living in our unincorporated communities must be given the opportunity to determine their own future,” said Antonovich. “After public hearings gather and share vital information, an advisory vote is necessary to allow the residents to decide their future. The Board of Supervisors, the City Council and the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) must respect the will of the people most impacted by any proposed change in governance.”
After these studies are completed, public meetings will be organized to unveil their findings and to ask for public input.