The Latest Scheme In California: Dissolving Cities
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
Sep. 5, 2010
Some cities in California are so bloated in debt and other problems they are considering dissolution. Mercury News asks is this The End of Half Moon Bay?
Between budget losses and lawsuit payments, Half Moon Bay’s financials have become so dire that if a local sales tax measure doesn’t pass this November, officials say they may have to disincorporate.
City leaders have been using the “D” word for a few weeks now as they try to persuade voters to pass Measure K, a one-cent sales tax increase that would help the city balance its budget with an extra infusion of $1.4 million per year for the next seven years.
Dissolving Half Moon Bay — handing the city’s budget, operations and services to San Mateo County — would be an absolute last resort, but the city may not have many other options left, City Councilman John Muller said.
At first glance, disincorporation could save taxpayers some money: no more city administration to support. Police services would be contracted out, and the county would cover planning, building and public works projects from its offices in Redwood City.
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City Manager Michael Dolder admits disincorporation is one of the options on the table now. The City Council already cut $900,000 from the current budget — including half its employees — and imposed furloughs on those who remain. Some of the cuts were needed to pay for the Beachwood lawsuit settlement, a $15 million burden the city will shoulder in bond payments for the next 20 years.