Isla Vista residents, students and county administrators gathered for the weekly stakeholders’ meeting Tuesday evening in the I.V. Clinic building hosted by Assemblyman Das Williams’ office for continued discussions on Assembly Bill 3 (AB 3).
During this week’s meeting, attendees discussed recent amendments to clarify how the Community Services District proposed by the bill will function if passed by the State Assembly. If AB 3 passes, a CSD would still require approval in a county-level vote.
Community organizer from Das Williams’ office Darcel Elliott said if there is not adequate funding to support a financial feasibility study, it could delay the county-level approval process of AB 3.
“Theoretically, say AB 3 is signed by the governor by October 11, then the County District Board of Supervisors would determine when to put it on the ballot,” Elliott said. “So, say we don’t have the financial feasibility study done by October 11, they will probably wait before they decide to put it on the ballot.”
The district will not be able to operate until a Utility User’s Tax is passed to fund the district. – Community organizer from Das Williams’ office Darcel Elliott
Elliott said a vote to implement a Utility User’s Tax (UUT), a tax as a percentage of utility bills, would follow approval of the CSD.
“The district will not be able to operate until a Utility User’s Tax is passed to fund the district,” Elliott said.
According to Elliott, the Assembly Committee on Local Government said William’s office should reintroduce AB 3 if the vote to establish a UUT does not pass.
“If the tax passes with a two-thirds vote, the District becomes operational and will start providing services,” Elliott said. “If it doesn’t pass, the committee recommended putting in a time frame to allow multiple attempts so they suggested ten years, because it’s a nice even number.”
According to a presentation by Elliott, the CSD would be dissolved after ten years of inactivity.
I think if there was a way to mandate that the county interact with LAFCO during this process that puts it on the ballot maybe we can say that feasibility will be determined by so-and-so date by LAFCO. – Former A.S. EVPLA Cameron Schunk
Former Associated Students External Vice President for Local Affairs and fourth-year political science and psychology double-major Cameron Schunk said a CSD is the best available way to establish self-governance for I.V.
“I have concerns about the idea of pursuing a host of alternatives through other channels, when we have a channel right here that seems to be rather unified and, in my opinion, very effective for a lot of good reasons,” Schunk said. “I really have to disagree with the sentiment that this district may not accomplish what we set out to do if the county put it into place.”
Schunk said Santa Barbara County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), an organization which regulates the formation of local government entities, could participate in the CSD approval process through involvement in financial feasibility research.
“I think if there was a way to mandate that the county interact with LAFCO during this process that puts it on the ballot maybe we can say that feasibility will be determined by so-and-so date by LAFCO,” Schunk said.
Santa Barbara City College Trustee and UCSB alumnus Jonathan Abboud said he supports having separate county-level votes approving a CSD and UUT.
“If you don’t put the tax in it will only be 50 plus one to pass. With the tax it’s two-thirds,” Abboud said. “I would agree that it shouldn’t be the same just so that it speeds up the process and makes it less complicated it for people.”
Stakeholders will continue discussion on AB 3 amendments at the I.V. clinic next Tuesday.