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LAFCO's Malibu Report Lauded

May 29, 1988

I have appreciated the coverage by The Times of our effort to bring the issue of cityhood for Malibu to a vote of the residents. However, I am concerned about the subheading in the May 12 Westside article which implied that we are challenging the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) staff report.

We totally support the report conclusion that a city is financially viable and the recommendation that the cityhood application be approved. We feel that the author, Executive Officer Ruth Benell, should be commended for her thoroughness in doing more than merely reporting specific data as received from county agencies.

The report included a four-year history of county public works (and) road construction and showed that expenditures ranged from a low of $243,200 to the high of $2,335,900 for the base year. It would be better said that we are emphasizing her interpretation of the data--that major construction costs fluctuate and can be budgeted over a number of years. Similarly, although federal and state funds available for road construction are not a part of the budget estimate, she identified the almost $1 million obtained by the county last year and made reference to the availability of such funds to the new city in her conclusion as to why the city was financially viable.

We are grateful to Mrs. Benell for the exemplary manner with which she has performed her duties as LAFCO executive officer, from attending late-night public meetings in Malibu (at least two hours' drive from her home), arranging meetings with county agencies and explaining the report to us, for her patience, and finally for a fair report.

WALTER F. KELLER

Malibu

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