Posted by Paul, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Oct 5, 2007 at 12:20 pm
Interesting that 30 "old timers" got together to oppose Alamo's incorporation. I wonder if they don't suffer from Alzheimers or dementia?
Ever since I first moved to Alamo in '72, the County has tried their best to turn us into another Concord. The "old timers" seem to have forgotten the plan to turn Danville Blvd into a four lane road and vastly expand retail (which of course, merely increased tax revenues for the County to waste, err spend as they felt fit). It would have been another Monument Blvd.
Or did they forget that the County allowed RoundHill North to be built on very visible steep hillsides that have had a penchant for slides, when just about every other INCORPORATED community would never allow such development?
But for the AIA and dedicated Alamoians over the years, we easily could have been another Concord. But enough is enough. When we are forced to accept monstrosity homes like have been built near the freeway (the horrendous tilt up that poses as a house is a blatant example of out of control, absentee County oversight), Alamo residents need to wrestle control back for the sake of our community.
There is a giant vacuum sound coming from the Alamo tax base. What do we get in return? Stunningly poor roads (check out the outrageously bad paving job the County paving crews did on Stone Valley Rd a week or two ago). And incompetent absentee "management" by County employees who don't live in the community and have no reason to give us any more than lip service.
Alamo should have incorporated decades ago. The only reason Alamo wasn't allowed to incorporate was that the County didn't want to lose all the excess tax revenue we provide. Now that we have an up-to-date Feasibility Study that conclusively proves Alamo is not only viable as a city, but will generate excess revenues (but of course, we've known that Alamo has been a County cash cow for many years), there is absolutely zero reason to be against incorporation.
Posted by Keith Lewis, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Oct 5, 2007 at 2:09 pm
Paul is almost right that there is few reasons to oppose incorporation. There is a major reason to oppose AIM's incorporation efforts because AIM wants to turn over the future of Alamo to a town council that has no reason or need to seek community guidance in their planning.
We have five supervisors that ignore and abuse us. Do we want five council members that will do the same?
Posted by Jacque Kildare, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Oct 5, 2007 at 2:31 pm
The September issue of Alamo Today contained an explanation of "How the new Town of Alamo will use your tax dollars", written by Sharon Burke of the Alamo Incorporation Movement. This well written article summarized most of the points made by the Initial Financial Analysis (I.F.A.) The I.F.A. had been commissioned by the Alamo Incorporation Movement. The I.F.A. in addition to providing significant detail for establishing and managing the Town of Alamo, describes requirements and steps to follow for incorporation of the Town of Alamo,
The essential reason for establishing the Town of Alamo, is to allow Alamo to manage and control its Planning, Parks, Police and Roads. Underlying these reasons is the complaint that Contra Costa County is not sufficiently responsive to Alamo residents individually, and specifically is not responsive to those Alamo residents who act for the Alamo community and interface with Contra Costa County organizations.
It is important to.get an understanding of how the Town of Alamo will gain needed control over those functions.
The Town of Alamo will own all of its roads. Alamo will receive taxes and user fees for
maintenance of the Alamo roads. This appears to be a “pass through” where the Town of Alamo will have responsibility for road maintenance.
The Town of Alamo intends to continue contracting with the Contra Costa County Sheriff for Police protection. Traffic enforcement will be provided by the Sheriff's department instead of the California Highway Patrol.
Parks and Recreation
The Town of Alamo will take over revenues and responsibilities for parks and recreation. This includes park maintenance, recreation programs and the development and establishing of new parks.
The Town of Alamo will be responsible for land use planning and zoning. It is in this area of land use planning and zoning that impetus for incorporation of the Town of Alamo has gained the most traction. Residents of Alamo who act for the Alamo community are frustrated by the inability to adequately represent Alamo and have this representation accepted by Contra Costa County staff.
From the perspective of the resident of Alamo, it is also important to attempt an understanding of what will be gained by incorporation.
It is reasonable to expect that little immediate change will be apparent.
Also, little change will be apparent, with the exception of traffic enforcement.
Parks and Recreation
There appears to be little reason to expect immediate changes. Over time park acquisitions may be apparent.
Alamo residents may expect more immediate and satisfactory resolution of land use and zoning issues. Planning personnel of the Town of Alamo will find themselves significantly less encumbered in making and implementing land use and zoning decisions.
The Initial Financial Analysis used the neighboring towns of Clayton, Moraga and Lafayette as comparators to assist in determining the financial feasibility of Alamo incorporation. The I.F.A. estimated an initial Town of Alamo budget of $7,253,000, it compared that budget with expected revenues and determined an excess of $330K, or about 4.5%. The I.F.A. estimated an initial staff of 15, not including a police requirement of 17, plus 10 additional for holiday, etc. replacement. The Town of Alamo population is 17,600.
The Initial Financial Analysis is available on line, as are the current budgets for Clayton, Moraga, and Lafayette.
It is clearly helpful for Alamo residents to review these documents and understand differences in budgets and personnel between the new Town of Alamo and the three comparison towns.
Moraga population is 16,450. The Moraga staff of 36.5 includes 15.5 police. The Moraga budget is $5.6M.
Clayton population is 10,781. The Clayton budget is $3,784,028. The Clayton staff is 26, plus 10 police.
Lafayette population is about 24 thousand. The Lafayette budget is $9.4M and the staff is 36 with 75 temporary employees, many working part time. In addition, there are 19 police.
How should the Alamo Resident consider the differences between the Town of Alamo and Clayton, Moraga and Lafayette?
If Clayton, Moraga and Lafayette have developed as the Town of Alamo can be expected to develop, the apparent answer is that the Initial Financial Analysis understates staff requirements and the budget that will be needed.
The Initial Financial Analysis does not provide guidelines for increasing revenues for the Town of Alamo. The I.F.A. does indicate that the Town of Alamo is, essentially, "built out". The I.F.A. also indicates that current commercial/business development of the Town of Alamo is restricted to what is now developed at the intersection of Danville Blvd. and Stone Valley Road.
Meaningful revenue increase for the Town of Alamo may be available by undertaking very disruptive changes to present land use and zoning. Such changes could be exceedingly disruptive to the Town of Alamo as a residential community that Alamo residents have come to expect.
Incorporation of the community of Alamo into the Town of Alamo is, however, a desirable objective. Enabling the Town of Alamo to assume Planning functions would streamline and satisfy long standing frustrations in dealing with Contra Costa County staff.
Establishing the Town of Alamo, though, may not be so simple.
Posted by Catherine Hilton, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Oct 8, 2007 at 8:45 am
It would be appropriate for Alamo neighbors to look beyond the emotions of incorporation and start looking at the reality of government participation by residents and the real costs of government to our community. A city council in Alamo would have the same autonomy as our supervisors in decisions impacting our neighborhoods and would have the right to increase service fees as a form of new taxation to be paid by each resident.
Those that would seek council positions in Alamo would likely be the same self-designated community leaders among county agencies and the AIA that have ignored the advisory of neighborhoods and served their own personal positions on the future of Alamo.
Posted by Steve Cavalli, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Oct 9, 2007 at 6:02 pm
Incorporate = yes! For many reasons; I'm tired of the ongoing speeding issues throughout Danville Blvd and neighboring major streets. The CCC Sheriff can only listen to complaints and respond to accidents - no controls. The community is hand-cuffed to improve the downtown area, i.e. roundabout at Danville Blvd and Orchard Court that's gone in circles the last 8 years when we could have funded the project in year 1 if incorporated - safety isn't a concern for CCC when our tax dollars are spent elsewhere in the county. Etc. Etc. Etc. Enough is enough...
Posted by Jane Taylor, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Oct 9, 2007 at 8:34 pm
Steve, can you explain the connection between incorporation and the issues of speeding on our major roadways. Under incorporation, the City of Alamo will contract with the Contra Costa County Sheriff for law inforcement in Alamo and we will have no net increase of officers in our community for traffic enforcement. It is my understanding that Alamo will have limited Highway Patrol presence when we become a city.
Posted by David Bunch, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Oct 15, 2007 at 5:08 pm
In your humor, you point to an issue that simply won't go away. As part of a group of Cowboy and Patriot fans this last weekend, and the excitement of the first three quarters, the subject of incorporation simply came up again and again. "What the Hell." I yelled, "Can't we talk about something else?"
I have concluded that we are a boring, self-absorbed lot that does not have any real commentary in our region, state or the world for that matter. We can only talk about incorporation as if that was going to be any part of our future.
Posted by Keith Lewis, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Oct 16, 2007 at 7:16 pm
I enjoy humor and the laughter that comes from a too-obvious effort to misstate the facts. Recognizing that reality among proponents and opponents of incorporation does not solve Alamo's community issues, I can appreciate how various Alamo residents, reportedly among the majority, are laughing at this minority of proponents and opponents.
David points to a real issue that incorporation doesn't need discussion. It needs planning for the type of government we will have and the role our residents will play in the planning of the structure and operations of that government. Our State general law allows us to specify structure and operations in our application to become a city.
Let's keep it simple. Alamo residents should never accept an autonomous city council and the lack of residents' planning of our community. No discussion, just designate structure and operations in our government in the application or forget incorporation.
We are a great community and we can get this done,
Posted by Heywood, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Oct 17, 2007 at 10:26 am
Hmmm. I am very surprised at the number of long time residents that are for incorporation. Having lived through the Danville incorporation, it is sad people cannot learn from the past.
Danville has tripled in size, and San Ramon has more than quintupled their populations since incorporating. So called "4 lane highways" have popped up in the forms of Sycamore Valley Rd., Crow Canyon Rd., and Bollinger Canyon Rd.
In addition, the roads are just as terrible, but they do have giant, flashing "your speed" signs. Do we really need 75 police cars in Alamo? Incorporate, and you'll get them. Plus paying for the added overhead will be a breeze with all of the radar gun citations that will be issued. Let's not forget the meter maids too!
We need to keep in mind the wonderful building permit process that incorporation brings to the table. We don't want to miss out on all that revenue, and the control of telling Johnny Homeowner that their fence is 2 inches too high, and will have to be rebuilt. Many contractors won't even look into jobs in Danville, because of their building department. Do we really want/need this in Alamo? Do we really want a bigger, badder, AIA?
Posted by Vince Kreigher, a resident of the Walnut Creek neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2007 at 4:58 pm
Heywood, you have no worries,
In a recent polling of Alamo residents and focus study of proponents and opponents of incorporation, if the election were held today 65% of Alamo residents would vote NO.
Media has given exceptional opportunity for incorporation proponents and opponents to state their positions and we still do not have a structural and operation plan for a city of Alamo or any defined result that benefits our residents.
As a former Alamo resident and a current property owner, I am waiting for a plan and defined result before I will support this brand of incorporation.
Posted by Christine Jenkins, a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Oct 20, 2007 at 8:46 am
The question for Alamo neighbors must be how do we contribute to our own planning. The various county agencies, including AIA and SRV Regional Planning Commission, have vitually no role in the overall planning of Alamo land use, infrastructure and services. Mr. Michael Murray, Contra Costa County Planning Commissioner for District 3, is a home builder and completely unknown in Alamo. And AIM is proposing an autonomous city council and city government with no obligation to citizens' participation or oversight.
This BRAND of incorporation is not the answer and the status quo does not work. So post SOLUTIONS, please, Neighbors!