County Changes Special District Formation Policy

(March 18) San Bernardino County has instituted a new policy with regard to the formation of special government services districts.
Based on a recommendation of the county’s chief executive officer, Greg Devereaux, and the county’s division of special districts, Jeff Rigney, the board of supervisors this week mandated that a financial analysis of the impact the creation of a new special district will have before such an entity is created.
According to Devereaux and Rigney’s report to the board, “Residents or other authorized individuals within the unincorporated area of San Bernardino County can form what is generically referred to as ‘special districts’ to provide new municipal type services or augment current services. These services include but are not limited to roads, parks, water, sewer, fire, streetlighting, refuse, etc.
The Board of Supervisors has the authority to approve the formation of the special district which once formed is financed through the levy of a fee, assessment or special tax on the properties benefiting from the new or enhanced service. Approval of the fee, assessment, or special tax is subject to approval by a vote of either registered voters or property owners within the proposed district.”
Devereaux and Rigney went on to note that “During a public hearing on September 23, 2014, the board of supervisors gave direction to staff to develop a policy that would ensure full consideration of the impact on property owners when forming special districts, as it is the property owners who are ultimately responsible for the payment of services. The recommended policy will achieve this outcome by providing that, prior to recommending the formation of a special district, an analysis and evaluation of all available formation and financing strategies be completed.”

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