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Commission Eyes Consolidations, Reserves, and Property Taxes

On Thursday, August 25, the Little Hoover Commission (Commission) will conduct a public hearing on special districts. The hearing is intended to serve as a follow-up to the Commission's 2000 report, Special Districts: Relics of the Past or Resources for the Future? That report put forward five findings and five recommendations related to visibility and accountability, local agency formation commissions, local analytical tools, reserve funds, and property tax allocation.

CSDA has submitted written testimony to the Commission and will testify before the Commission on August 25. A hearing announcement posted by the Commission overviews the agenda, which includes four panels. In addition to CSDA, the Commission will hear from the Association of California Healthcare Districts, the North Tahoe Fire Protection District, the California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions, the League of California Cities, and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

While special districts have undertaken significant progress in each of the areas identified by the 2000 Commission report, CSDA anticipates that some witnesses will call for new laws and regulations affecting special districts and other local agencies. It will be up to the Commission to determine which areas, if any, merit further review.

Based on the testimony received, the Commission intends to hold a second hearing on October 27 that will narrow its focus to specific issues it considers meritorious for further review. Ultimately, the Commission is expected to publish a new report regarding special districts in the spring of 2017. This report will likely include a number of findings and may include recommendations to the State Legislature and governor.

In the time leading up to the August 25 hearing, Commission staff has made itself accessible to CSDA, offering opportunities for constructive dialogue on the issues now before the Commission. CSDA looks forward to continuing this dialogue with the commissioners. Special districts have much to be proud of over the last 16 years, as well as in the more than 100 years of service prior to the 2000 report. CSDA will take advantage of this latest opportunity to demonstrate the value special districts bring to their communities and to the State of California.

The August 25 hearing, which begins at 9:30 a.m. in State Capitol Room 437, is open to the public and will be streamed live via CalChannel. CSDA will report to its membership following the hearing, and, based on the outcomes, will be sure to keep members informed of the next steps and opportunities to engage in the ongoing process as appropriate.

CSDA members are welcome to contact Advocacy and Public Affairs Director Kyle Packham at with any questions.





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