What is the view of Local Agency Formation Commission about the decision of the Twentynine Palms Water District to step back from the process of transferring the Fire Department to the County? Reporter Dan Stork asked LAFCO about it…
At its last meeting, the Twentynine Palms Water District Board of Directors voted to pause the application to LAFCO to transfer Fire Department operations to San Bernardino County.
The morning after, Z107.7 asked Kathleen Rollings-McDonald, the Executive Director of the Local Agency Formation Commission, her reaction to the decision. She told us that it was the first she had heard of it, nor had she known that such a decision was in the works.
In a later interview, we asked for comment on publicly-aired suggestions that the City of Twentynine Palms and the Water District form a Joint Powers Authority (or JPA), or that the City share some of its revenue with the Water District.
With regard to the first idea, Ms. Rollings-McDonald gave a description of a JPA: “A Joint Powers Authority is defined as agencies coming together to perform a service that they are authorized to provide jointly.” She gave as an example, adjacent water agencies combining to provide regional wastewater treatment, as is done in the Big Bear area.
But the City is not authorized to provide fire protection, and its jurisdiction overlaps that of an agency which is authorized — the Water District. Consequently, the legal basis for a JPA in this case is problematic, and is outside of LAFCO area of concern.
With regard to the second idea, she said, “If the City were inclined, there’s a process to transfer a share of its property tax funding, and that’s in the Revenue and Taxation Code, and they can do that.” Ms. Rollings-McDonald cautioned that the cost will be ongoing, and increasing.