It’s Now or Never for San Martin

With the governor’s signature late last month on AB 1602,
communities like San Martin that want to incorporate now have an
even playing field
– for a while. San Martin residents should seize this
opportunity.
With the governor’s signature late last month on AB 1602, communities like San Martin that want to incorporate now have an even playing field – for a while. San Martin residents should seize this opportunity.

Communities that are considering incorporating as cities must first meet the state’s requirement that they prove that they can pay for basic municipal services currently provided by the county government, like police and fire protection and road maintenance.

However, after the state’s dramatic reduction of vehicle license fees in 2004, communities have not been able to meet this standard. In fact, no new cities have incorporated in the state since the VLF was reduced.

Sponsored by Assemblyman John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), whose 27th district includes the unincorporated hamlet of about 8,000 residents, AB 1602 restores funding to enable new city incorporations.

“This bill restores a sense of fairness to the funding allocations that are critical for communities seeking self-determination as cities,” Laird said.

But there’s a catch – AB 1602 expires in 2009. The law provides a window so that communities – like San Martin – that were working toward incorporation before the VLF was reduced have a new opportunity to take control of their destinies.

Sylvia Hamilton, president of the San Martin Neighborhood Alliance, told reporter Tony Burchyns that’s just what her group is doing: “That’s our goal. … We’re starting A.S.A.P.”

Hopefully, Hamilton’s neighbors will fully support her efforts. The San Martin Neighborhood Alliance has set a goal to raise $150,000 to pay for a fiscal feasibility study ahead of the November 2007 election. They’ve got $50,000 in the bank so far.

For years, San Martin residents have complained that the county, which has land-use control over the community because it is not incorporated as a city, uses the rural town as its dumping ground for undesirable development.

It’s time for San Martin residents to put their money where their mouths are. If they want to control their destiny, if they want self-determination, now’s their chance. Either put up or shut up.

Leave your comments