Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr held “office hours” Thursday at Coffee Collaboration in Isla Vista to meet with constituents and address questions regarding local issues.
Discussion focused on Assemblymember Das Williams’ I.V. Self-Governance Bill (AB 3), which Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on Wednesday, and funding for and I.V. Community Center. AB 3 aims to make I.V. a Community Services District (CSD) governed by a board of local representatives and supported by a Utility Users Tax (UUT).
Farr said it will be a “big job” to educate I.V. residents about how a CSD would affect them before they vote to approve it in the 2016 election.
“Sometimes people get voter fatigue; they’ve got this enormous ballot, all this stuff to go through so hopefully [AB 3] doesn’t get lost in that,” Farr said.
Farr said she has heard concerns regarding funding for CSD administrative costs and services, and the role Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) would play in a CSD.
Farr said a UUT, which taxes residents a portion of their utility bills, is a more effective method of dividing the costs of the CSD between students, long-time residents and property owners.
“That was why they wanted the UUT rather than a property tax because the thought was that the tax burden is spread more evenly throughout the community that benefits, and not just on those people that own property,” said Farr. “Long-term owners are concerned that they are going to be saddled with enormous tax assessments.”
According to Farr, IVRPD was intentionally excluded from the CSD planning.
“The I.V. Park and Rec District did not want to be folded into the CSD and that was why we thought the governor might not sign it, because he doesn’t like creating layers,” Farr said. “So it was specifically written to exclude IVRPD … we’ve got a good thing going, we don’t want to goof it up.”
Professor of economics Lanny Ebenstein said he has plans to raise funds for an Isla Vista Community Center that involve alumni and current students.
“There are 190,000 alumni at UCSB and most of them have probably lived in Isla Vista,” Ebenstein said. “Only 15,000 people live here at a time, but over twenty or thirty years, 150,000 may have lived here.”
According to Ebenstein, significant funds are still needed to build a community center.
“$483,000 is a start, but it is not enough to do everything that should be done,” Ebenstein said. “Our goal would be to raise a million dollars … What we are trying to do is raise a million dollars more — that would be the funds that we think would be necessary to really make the community center.”