Save Carmel Valley . org - Why Oppose a City in Carmel Valley -- The Politics of Unintentional Consequences

Click Analysis

Why Oppose a City in Carmel Valley -- The Politics of Unintentional Consequences

Vote NO on Measure G

TAX BILL WILL EVENTUALLY INCREASE: Someone would have to pay for a new City. Like every other City in Monterey County, citizens will eventually want all the trimmings of a real City. When that day comes, Carmel Valley residents will have to pay for the construction of a new City Hall, police station, public works, and civic center as the bureaucracy grows. Further, a new City would face severe financial constraints. “That’s because,” as the Monterey Herald wrote, “under a 10-year-old law, the new city has to continue paying the county the same amount of hotel, sales and property taxes as before, often for decades.” (1/5/2002)

UNFUNDED LIABILITIES: Cities are routinely saddled with many unfunded liabilities. According to Anna Caballero, former LAFCO commissioner and mayor, warned that “a city ‘has a lot of obligations that unincorporated areas don’t’ including providing public facilities for meetings, and city business, meeting affordable housing quotas, cleaning up any runoff water from storm drains, holding elections and paying for programs the state requires but doesn’t fund.” (Monterey Herald, Kevin Howe, “Cityhood proponents face new Hurdles,” Jan. 25, 2005).

MORE DEVELOPMENT: The new City would be dependent on tourism and other revenue sources, and would eventually need to entice large businesses to settle in Carmel Valley in order to pay for the City’s upkeep. This means the construction of large resort hotels and more traffic. Perhaps this is why developer Tom Gray has given thousands to the incorporation proponents. In fact, according to the Monterey Herald, Gray has given at least $10,000 to the incorporation cause (Monterey Herald, Jan. 5, 2003, "Carmel Valley: Wrestling with the Question of Incorporation: Should A City Go Here?" by Victoria Manley.)

LOW-INCOME HOUSING: Under state law, a number of cities have been required to build low-income housing in expensive areas. The formula has been as high as 15% of current housing units to accommodate low-income housing, which could mean building 300 to 400 inclusionary housing units in Carmel Valley. (estimate by Salinas Mayor Anna Caballero and LAFCO commissioner, 2005). The city of Irvine just lost a court case where it was told to build 21,000 "affordable housing" units in five years. (Erika Chavez, Orange County Register, "Irvine to be flooded with affordable housing?", July 8, 2009).

URBANIZATION: It would ruin the rural nature of Carmel Valley. Such a City would likely install streetlights, sidewalks and parks, parking meters, along with a general “beautification” plan – all at taxpayer expense. If Carmel Valley becomes a city, it is legally a “city” and not a rural area anymore.

MORE GOVERNMENT HASSLES: A City would demand more permits, inspections, approvals, nightmarish red tape, paperwork, etc., which many people have already experienced in Carmel-by-the-Sea. In the first Feasibility Study, out of the 25 proposed city employee’s, 12-14 were designated for the Planning Department. City bureaucrats will peek over our fences to see if our homes are up to code or compliant with other micro-management rules. We do not need a new bureaucracy probing and expanding into our lives.

NEW SEWER SYSTEM: Because of nitrate and clean water concerns, many cities and communities across the nation have had to face the problem of cleaning up their water supply. Currently, most Carmel Valley residents have septic tanks, except at the mouth of the valley. A new City would be pressured to follow new federal and state environmental laws to improve underground water quality. This will likely lead to a brand new 8-plus mile long sewer system that would be extremely expensive and disruptive to the environment, considering the large geographical area it must cover. In this case, a larger wastewater treatment plant will have to be constructed. The cost to hook up to a new sewer system has been as high as $25,000 per homeowner in other areas of California. Currently, the city of Malibu is considering banning septic systems within its boundaries. This city is similar to Carmel Valley -- a long valley that ends up at the Pacific Ocean. link:

LEGAL LIABILITY: Lawsuits against a Carmel Valley City would be directed at a City of 12,000 residences instead of a county with over 300,000. Also, lawsuits by owners over restrictions on land-use (takings) could be substantial.

SKYROCKETING ROAD COSTS: Under a City, roads will have to be improved, according to California state laws. With 68 miles of roads (144 lane-miles); $40 million to $60 million of needed road reconstruction in the near future; $3 million needed to replace the failed road system every year and $1.1 million for preventive maintenance (slurry seal and chip seal) a total of $4.1 million a year just to keep up with the ailing road system so it does not become any worse. The CV incorporation group has budgeted 1/20 of what is annually needed (only $327,000 is budget for striping the roads, sweeping, cutting weeds, patching holes and cleaning out storm drains and only $200,000 for slurry seal and chip seal per year).

DEFERRED CAPITAL INVESTMENTS: Road work exceeds $100 million according to Monterey County officials (road reconstruction and road re-engineering to bring the roads up to current development standards; bridges that need repairs or replacing; etc.) Remember, this proposed city is a land mass larger than all the other Peninsula cities combined. CV Cityhood proponent's feasibility study only includes a public works department of just two part-time employees (Carmel-by-the-Sea, for instance, with only 1 square mile, has 13 employees). Where will this money come from? Road cost figures come from Lew C. Bauman PhD., PE, Public Works Director, Monterey County (Jan. 29, 2002). According to LAFCO, even before recent revenue declines, this proposed city would be running a $2,000,000 road-fund deficit by year ten.

CITY DEBT: The City would likely be forced to float large bond measures in order to pay the additional costs which would be added to our property tax bills. And if citizens resist, the political establishment at City Hall will simply argue that they will close down services if taxes are not raised.

POLITICAL INFIGHTING: Increased politics will poison the community with electioneering, charges of corruption, outsider vs. insider conflicts, special interests trying to influence the mayor and city councilmembers, and general politicking. Battles of influence between CV village and the mouth of the valley could be very divisive.

HIGH-PAID STAFF: A highly paid staff of City workers, City manager, City Attorney, etc. would follow. Further, most Cities have generous retirement packages of up to 90% of the City employee’s salary. For instance, retiring librarians in San Diego (2004) get over $124,000 a year (source: Richard Rider, chair, San Diego Tax Fighters). In Salinas, the parks and recreation director receives a salary of more than $160,000 a year. Someone must pay for these high salaries. It would be Carmel Valley residents and businesses. In the city of Seaside alone, over 40 government officials get over $100,000 per year.

INCREASED BUSINESS TAXES: With a City, there would be more taxes on local businesses – possible business license tax, utility taxes, etc. which would required to support a new layer of government.

PROPERTY TAXES/BOND REDEMPTION: Despite Prop. 13 protection, City governments must employ “Bond Redemptions” and “Bond Interest” for “capital improvements” which makes the homeowner’s property tax bills go up substantially. According to the former Monterey County Treasurer/Tax Collector Thomas C. White, “When defined and cost estimates are resolved, an underwriter floats a bond issue with its interest. Then, we as the residents of this new district are assessed one-thirtieth of the bond’s face value plus that year’s accrued interest. These new amounts, that you will have to pay, will appear on your tax bill every year for the next thirty years…So ‘Yes’ your taxes will not go up but your bill will increase substantially.”

ANNUAL PROFIT: The proponents of incorporation state that $7,900,000 of the taxes collected by Monterey County will be turned over to a possible new City. They also estimate that the costs to run the City will be $5,700,000. Thus, there is to be an annual net surplus of $2,200,000. The problem is that the $7,900,000 was already going into the county coffers and the county has means of retribution for this $7.9 million. BUT more importantly the $5.7 million in new costs are NEW. They did not exist before.

INCREASED BUSINESS TAXES: With a City, there would be more taxes on local businesses – possible business license tax, utility taxes, etc. to support a new layer of government. Voter approval is not required to establish or increase city fees.

COST OF WILD FIRES: The State of California funds the CDF to fight wild fires in unincorporated areas. If incorporated, the cost of fighting the fire is shifted to the City.

REDEVELOPMENT AGENCIES: Every city in Monterey County, except Carmel-by-the-Sea, has a redevelopment agency with the power to seize private land and give it to private developers at the expense of taxpayers. With eminent domain powers, a City can take anybody’s property. The issuance of Redevelopment Agency bonds does not require voter approval.

LITTLE LOCAL CONTROL: Somewhere between 50 to 60 percent of most city budgets are controlled by federal and state mandates and law. In reality, cities have lost most of their local control. Moreover, no matter the level -- national, state or local -- special interests usually have greater influence over the decisions of politicians than do the voters.

FLOOD INSURANCE INCREASE: For those living in a flood plain, there may be a 25 percent increase in flood insurance until a new city can get its new policies and paperwork in order, which could take up to five years. According to Thomas C. White II, Hacienda Carmel condo complex may see its flood insurance increase between $71,500 to $232,000 per year. See Carmel Pine Cone's article: "Will flood insurance cost more in new town? There's no easy answer." Aug. 28, 2009.

URBAN PLANNING/SMART GROWTH: Under Smart Growth planning principles to prevent urban sprawl, population density is to be shifted to the cities, and away from rural county areas. The cityhood proponents know this. There will be pressure to “in-fill” the low density areas of Carmel Valley so as to comply with a densely-populated city. Cities will be pressured by federal and state laws to increase population density and development.

Last Updated: Nov 15, 09

Most Recent

Final Results Nov. 13, 2009 --Measure G Defeated by 52.52% to 47.48%

Yard Signs and/or Bumper-stickersGet Them While They’re Fresh!FREE! Call Lawrence at 831-238-5058 ...

Poll: Many Oppose C.V. Incorporation

SURVEY CARDS mailed to residents at the mouth of Carmel Valley have a resounding “no...

Irvine to be Flooded with Afforable Housing?

Erika Chavez, Staff WriterOrange County RegisterDespite lawsuits and appeals, the City of Irvine is ...

Housing Mandates in California

By Lawrence SamuelsIn 2002, the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG) determined the ...