Local Government

Rio Linda Loses Panhandle Battle

Last night at the Sacramento County administration building, the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Committee (LAFCo) voted 6-1 to allow the City of Sacramento to Annex the panhandle area and detach it from the Rio Linda Elverta Recreation and Parks District.

The meeting video, agenda, and supporting documents can be viewed here:

Live video from the meeting can also be seen on the Rio Linda Online Facebook page here:

Misinformation was rampant, and assumptions about the RL/E community and the RLERPD’s ability to serve the panhandle were made by many speakers. At one early point, it was mentioned that the community of Rio Linda doesn’t interface with Natomas, and doesn’t do business west of East Levee road, which is an untenable and just plain foolish statement.

However, it did set an early tone for what was largely a pro-Sacramento display by the LAFCo commission. Commissioner and Sacramento City Council member Angelique Ashby was barely able to conceal her disdain for the proceedings and seemed inconvenienced by the need to conduct the hearing.

RLERPD Administrator Mike Heller.

RLERPD administrator Mike Heller presented his case well, supporting his position with facts, precedent and conviction.

Issues raised included the fact that RLERPD was formed before the City of Sacramento sphere of influence was mapped; RLERPD was formed in 1994. The LAFCo Sacramento City Sphere of Influence was established in 1996.

The precedent for non-detachment was also discussed. The Fulton El Camino Recreation and Parks District provides services within the City limits in the Swanston Estates area, the neighborhood immediately north of (behind) Arden Fair Mall, which includes Babcock Park.

The City of Sacramento brought an army of paid City employees to speak. Parks employees, Fire Department employees, even a City of Sacramento employee who lives in Rio Linda all spoke in favor of detachment and questioned the ability of the RLERPD to provide adequate services.

It was curious that while the City of Sacramento marched many employees to the podium to speak, there were at least five RLERPD Directors in attendance, yet only Charlea Moore and Stacey Bastian spoke to the commission in opposition.

Sue Frost with emails in support of the RLERPD.

District 4 Supervisor Sue Frost went to bat for the community, and at one point displayed the 728 emails (an additional 1500 of those came from the RLO readers per the LAFCo Staff report.) that she had received in support of the RLERPD. She noted also that annexations are supposed to be revenue neutral. As past Mayor of Citrus Heights, she’s very familiar with the tax sharing agreement involved in incorporation and annexation. Frost explained that the adjustment from $18,000 per year to $2,500 per year for five years, and then to zero to the RLERPD is just not equitable to this community.

The $18,000 per year was based on the previous aborted attempt at annexation, when property values were much higher. It was noted that $2,500 will not be adequate in the future because as we are all aware, property values are skyrocketing in the valley once again.

Commissioner Gay Jones made a motion to allow the city to annex the panhandle, but leave the RLERPD attached. The motion was defeated 5-2.

Commissioner Sue Frost made a motion to send the parties back to the negotiating table to come up with a more equitable revenue sharing agreement for the RELRPD. That motion was also defeated 5-2.

Ultimately, the motion to allow the City to annex the panhandle with detachment of the RLERPD was passed on a 6-1 vote, with Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost voting with the Rio Linda community on all three motions.

Note: Patrick Kennedy should read Angelique Ashby.

The end result is that the Rio Linda Elverta Recreation and Park district will no longer receive tax revenue from the panhandle after five years, when development will be underway and revenue increasing.

Also, should Rio Linda/Elverta incorporate along the RLERPD district boundaries, it will not include the panhandle and it’s 1200 new homes and 4000 new citizens, nor the tax revenue that comes with it.

Note: An edit has been made to accurately reflect the number of emails received by Sue Frost’s office and the LAFCo commission, independently of one another.

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