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City of Marina del Rey Couldn't Stay Afloat, Study Concludes

March 16, 1985|JAMES RAINEY | Times Staff Writer

There appears to be "no justification" for the formation of a city in Marina del Rey, according to a report that also estimated such a city would lose almost $2 million in its first year of operation.

The report, by the director of the Los Angeles County Local Agency Formation Commission, was a setback to cityhood proponents. It is expected to be regarded as significant when the commission decides on the question of incorporation.

Tenant activists who live in the marina said Friday, however, that they will challenge the findings and continue to push for incorporation. With cityhood, they hope to enact a tough rent-control ordinance.

The commission must approve incorporation before the Board of Supervisors can decide whether to put the question on the ballot.

Facts and Figures

According to Ruth Benell, the commission's executive director, Marina del Rey could expect revenues of $3.5 million a year and annual expenses of $5.4 million, leaving a deficit of $1.9 million.

Policing the marina's 804 acres of land and water, at a cost of nearly $4 million, would be the city's biggest expense, according to Benell.

She said the marina's revenue base could be smaller, because estimates of future population have been based on a formula that depends on voter registration, rather than actual census. The state uses population as the basis for distributing funds from sources such as vehicle registration.

Benell's study used a marina population of 16,452--three times the number of registered voters--but Benell said the actual population in the 1990 census is expected to be closer to 10,000.

Benell has said the marina incorporation effort is too closely tied to the rent-control issue.

"There appears to be no justification for incorporation of the area as a separate city," her report concluded.

Rent control became a significant issue when the Board of Supervisors refused to extend rent control beyond 1985. Since then, rents on decontrolled apartments have risen as much as 45%.

The negative report came little more than a week after introduction in the state Senate of a bill to prohibit cityhood. Sen. Bill Lockyer (D-Hayward) offered legislation that would bar residents of areas where less than 50% of the land is privately owned from taking preliminary steps to incorporate.

Tenants Reject Findings

Hy Tucker, chairman of the Marina del Rey Incorporation Committee, said the group will try to head off the bill, and to write its own feasibility report.

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