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Orange County Digest

Mission Viejo : Voters Face Choice on Forming Service District

September 13, 1985|Robert Hanley \f7

Mission Viejo residents this November will take a first step toward what could be eventual cityhood if they approve a proposal to dissolve their county service area in favor of forming a locally controlled community service district.

Orange County's 14 county service areas provide residents of unincorporated areas such services as street sweeping, park maintenance, street lighting, traffic and speed enforcement, and slope preservation, according to Ken Scattergood of the Local Agency Formation Commission.

Budget constraints resulting from the drying up of post-Proposition 13 bail-out funds, however, are putting many county service areas in a bind, prompting residents of some areas to consider forming community service districts.

The main advantage of such a move, Scattergood said, is that community service districts, sometimes called "junior cities," get to keep property taxes that normally would go to the old service area. A locally elected board of directors decides how the money is to be spent.

Scattergood, who drafted an impartial analysis of the formation of a community service district that was approved Wednesday by LAFCO for inclusion on the Nov. 5 ballot, said the Mission Viejo district would have a 1985-86 budget of $3.5 million to $4 million.

Although still unincorporated and therefore governed by the county Board of Supervisors, a Mission Viejo community service district would have more control over local affairs than it had as a county service area. It would have the right to levy resident fees for services it provides.

Community service districts have "many of the features of a city, but they cannot regulate land use or adopt general plans," Scattergood said. Basic fire and police protection for Mission Viejo would still be provided by the county, but extra service could be contracted if residents of the district were willing to pay the price.

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