The Adobe Press Reports On Nipomo’s Incorporation

Tentative Boundaries for the Town of Nipomo

Today’s Adobe Press has a front page article on the most recent update to Nipomo’s Incorporation movement. Reporter Todd Cralley’s article is similar to last week’s Santa Maria Times article in that it deals with incorporation; however, there are significantly different aspects to the Adobe Press article, including the proposed boundary map above.   See here for a more detailed boundary map.

Todd also notes that Nipomo’s sales tax revenues continue to increase, and discusses LAFCO’S role and Nipomo’s projected population figures. The entire article is reprinted below for future reference and educational use once it slips into the online paper’s unsearchable archives. To see further media coverage of Nipomo’s incorporation movement, please click here and scroll down to see all the stories:

Nipomo could incorporate in five years
By Todd Cralley/Adobe Staff

If all goes according to plan, incorporation may be as little as five years away for Nipomo, according to Mike Eisner, president of the nonprofit Nipomo Incorporation Committee for Education.

“If all goes well, we could have it on the ballot by 2012,” said Eisner. “What we are doing is setting a flexible timeline — best-case, worst-case scenarios.

“If all things fall into place, it is possible to incorporate or at least have it on the ballot for the voters by 2012. That’s a presidential election year.”

While 2012 may seem like a long time away, just what the city will look like — its boundaries, or sphere of influence — is as close as the organization’s Web site.

The nonprofit group that meets regularly to inform the community about the pros and cons of incorporation has posted what it believes would be the city of Nipomo’s boundaries at http://www.nipomoincorporation.org.

“The boundaries were originally created in 2005 with the help of San Luis Obispo’s Local Agency Formation Commission but were amended to include Blacklake and The Woodlands in Nipomo’s future sphere of influence,” said Mike Eisner, president of NICE. “At this time, it was suggested that we keep our boundaries tight.”

Because the group has been working in conjunction with LAFCO, Eisner thought it best to follow the agency’s lead regarding the boundaries.

“Boundaries are arbitrarily selected by any organization seeking incorporation,” Eisner said. “We took the sphere of influence suggested by LAFCO and used that. I thought, ‘If they’re willing to agree on those boundaries already, then why would I think of doing something else?’”

Funding the city

Also released at the committee’s May 12 meeting were the area’s sales tax revenues from 2006.

According to figures released by the San Luis Obispo Auditor/Controller’s Office, revenues generated from sales tax in Nipomo for the 2006 fiscal year were just over $931,000, up slightly from $928,000 in 2005.

That is an important benchmark, according to a 2004 report by Michael Davis of Davis Co. In the report, Davis estimated Nipomo would generate $758,000 in sales tax revenue for the 2005 year.

Andrea McGarvey of the County Auditor/Controller’s Office said 568 businesses filed sales tax returns in 2006.

“We can’t incorporate without a sufficient revenue stream,” said Guy Murray, vice president of NICE. “Given what’s going on right now and the future of development in Nipomo — based on what I’ve seen — I don’t have any reason to doubt that (sales tax revenues) will continue to increase.”

Establishing a sustainable tax base is a significant goal Nipomo must achieve if it is to become a city.

“According to the Davis Report, and that’s a flawed report, it will take $6 million to get the city going,” Eisner said. “We have a subcommittee that is looking at budgets from four other cities — Guadalupe, Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and Pismo Beach.

“The (subcommittee) is looking at those cities’ budgets, income and expenses. What they are trying to do is take the Davis Report and expand it,” he explained.

“In truth, nothing will be done on incorporation unless this committee says (Nipomo’s) income exceeds a projected budget and we are ready to put this on the ballot.”

The organization is also trying to answer the question of population growth over the next five years. Based on those figures, Murray has reason to be happy.

“If we incorporate by the year 2012, we’ll be the largest city in South County,” Murray said. “Our population will be right about 20,000.”

That figure was determined by using available census data combined with anticipated development and growth for the area over the next five years, said Dan Gaddis, who presented the figures.

The role of LAFCO

The group also received a presentation from Paul Hood, executive officer of LAFCO.

“I thought it was important for people to understand LAFCO’s role in incorporation and ask some questions,” Eisner said.

LAFCO is the agency that will determine whether Nipomo is ready for cityhood and will handle the application for incorporation.

“There are 58 LAFCOs in California,” Hood said. “We help communities understand the process and decide what they need to do next.”

Incorporation is something that is not taken lightly at the county level, according to Hood.

“According to a California state law, a city cannot have a negative fiscal effect on the county when it incorporates,” he said. “There must be revenue neutrality.”

Eisner admits incorporation is still a long way off. The organization is, however, moving forward in it goal to collect the data needed to inform the community about the pros and cons of incorporation.

“This is a year of gathering information and putting together the data,” said Eisner. “This is a year of getting organized. 2008 and 2009 will be the time when we’ll be out on the streets educating, distributing information, answering questions and raising money.”

Part of the process of incorporating is raising the necessary fees to pay LAFCO. Typically, according to Eisner, that’s $200,000 to pay for the two-year application and review process and the for environmental impact report.

“We’re looking to put together the facts and information the public needs in order to make an informed decision,” Eisner said. “Our desire is to do what the public desires.”

Thanks again Todd for your insightful write up.

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