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Citrus Heights Messenger

City Considers Annexations and Plans for Police Officers at Local Schools

Nov 02, 2023 03:11PM ● By Shaunna Boyd

Story by Shaunna Boyd

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - At the October 26 meeting, the Citrus Heights City Council considered whether to approve a resolution supporting the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act, which will be on the statewide ballot in the November 2024 election. If approved by a majority of voters, it would amend the state constitution so that any new taxes must be approved by a 2/3 vote of the people, and it will also define all state and local levies, charges, and fees as taxes.

Charles Anderson, public affairs manager for the Sacramento Ballot Division of the League of California Cities (of which Citrus Heights is a member), spoke during public comment to warn that that the measure could put an undue burden on cities to prove that their fees are reasonable, potentially opening cities up to lawsuits. He also pointed out that the measure is being funded by large corporations, including law firms, tobacco companies, oil companies, and insurance companies: “If you want to know why a measure is being funded, you can get a lot of insight by looking at who’s funding it. … And you have to ask, whose interests are they looking out for? Are they looking out for your community’s interests, making sure that cities provide efficient services at a low cost? Or is it by large corporations … trying to increase the size of their pocketbook?”

He advised Council to postpone this item until after the League was able to educate members about the potential outcomes for local cities.

Nick Bloise, director of operation for Sacramento Taxpayers Association, spoke in support of the measure, stating that it would restore the 2/3 vote, which “ensures genuine bipartisan community consensus.”

Scott Kaufman with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association also spoke in support, saying the measure will give taxpayers more say over when and how new tax revenue is raised by closing loopholes and increasing transparency.

Councilmember MariJane Lopez-Taff said that the measure will probably be rewritten and modified several times before it makes it to the ballot, so she suggested postponing a decision since the election is still a year away.

Vice Mayor Bret Daniels said it is important to show support now to help the cause gather momentum. The resolution to support the measure passed 3-1, with Lopez-Taff dissenting

The Council then heard a report examining four areas in incorporated Sacramento County along city boundaries for possible annexations: Greenback Gateway, Roseville Pointe, Dewey Drive, and Fair Oaks Blvd./Madison Ave. If property owners in those areas agreed to be annexed into Citrus Heights, the City would provide services (police and emergency, general services, and staff/administration) to those areas and would negotiate with the County to receive a share of the sales tax and property tax revenue generated by those parcels.

The fiscal impact study found that the service cost expenditures for each of those areas would exceed the projected revenues, so annexation was not recommended as fiscally prudent at this time.

Some councilmembers had a difficult time understanding the report, with Councilmember Jayna Karpinski-Costa complaining that the numbers in the chart were written “too small.” She said she wanted to see revenues and expenditures for each individual area under consideration, rather than all the annexations lumped together.

City Manager Ashley Feeney explained that each area and subarea had been broken down individually in the staff report given to Council, and in each analysis, as shown in the report, annexation would create a deficit for the City.

Vice Mayor Daniels said that he didn’t care about most of the annexation areas, except for a few residential subareas that he called “cleanups,” because he believed they should have been included in the city at incorporation to ensure straight boundaries that follow major roadways. He suggested that they could convince the County that it would be mutually beneficial to give Citrus Heights the full share of tax revenue since the City would take over the cost of services.

City Manager Feeney agreed to open conversations with Sacramento County.

Council had previously requested a report on the possibility of establishing School Resource Officers (SROs) at each of the high schools in Citrus Heights. Police Chief Alex Turcotte of the Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD) reported that the startup cost for two officers would be $247,570 (for the acquisition of vehicles, uniforms, equipment, computers, supplies, etc.), with $146,500 in personnel and $47,550 in operating costs for Fiscal Year 2023/2024. The estimated program cost would be $1.2 million for the first three fiscal years.

Council considered three funding options: use money from the City’s General Fund; allocate federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, until that is exhausted and then transition to General Funds; or request full funding or cost-sharing from San Juan Unified School District (SJUSD).

Vice Mayor Bret Daniels said, “There’s no greater job than public safety, and there’s probably no greater concern than safety to our children.” He suggested that he would support any of the funding options, as long as the high schools end up with an SRO on campus: “I think we are better served in protecting our kids by having a police presence there.” Although he added that those officers would also be available to leave the schools to answer emergency calls for service in the surrounding areas – which would leave those schools without a police presence during such calls.

Vice Mayor Daniels motioned that the Council use ARPA funding for the SRO program and was seconded by Mayor Schaefer. The motion failed on a 2-2 vote, with Karpinski-Costa and Lopez-Taff dissenting.

Daniels then motioned to pursue a cost-share with SJUSD, which was approved on 4-0 vote.

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