The Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce study of Goleta’s revenue-neutrality agreement with Santa Barbara County has concluded that the agreement, as it now stands, is the most unfair of any other recent agreements. The results will be presented at the Goleta Economic Forecast at 8 a.m. Friday at the Fairview Theatre, 225 N. Fairview Ave.

“Revenue neutrality is the major issue impacting Goleta today and into the future, specifically the ability of the city to provide services as needed by local residents,” said Kristen Amyx, president/CEO of the Goleta Valley chamber. “We commissioned this analysis to determine the long-term effects of the agreement as negotiated by the former City Council, and to provide context for the ramifications of the fiscal realities it imposes as we ask the county to agree to a fair agreement.”

The Goleta Valley chamber has commissioned studies annually for the past three years, including research on the economics of viable agriculture and local preference housing policies.

Highlights of the RNA study include:

» The revenue-neutrality agreement leaves Goleta paying more to the county than any other recently incorporated city in California.

» Without the agreement, the county still would receive $7.44 million from city of Goleta tax revenue (property and sales).

» Unlike any other revenue-neutrality agreement, Goleta never stops paying the county. Most agreements end after five to 10 years.

» Proponents of cityhood stated that the RNA payments to the county were for “county services for Goleta.” Yet the fact is the RNA payments are not for any services the county provides to the city of Goleta.

» There is legal precedent to fix the flawed and unfair agreement. Lawsuits settled by other recently established cities have set a legal precedent for lower revenue-neutrality payments and end dates to the arrangements.

Community leaders have responded well to the study, in limited release.

“This confirms what we all feared,” said Pat O’Malley of Goleta Rotary. “According to the study, this is the worst deal in the state, and threatens the future of our city.”

“The chamber’s study is critical to clearing up public misconceptions about this deal,” said Steve Fedde of Cabrillo Business Park. “Those who agreed to this doomed the city.

“Hopefully, this will lead to common understanding and a solution to this problem. Goleta’s business community is eager to see the issue resolved.”

Management consultant Don Gilman, principal at the Gilman Consulting Group, completed the study. Subsequent to the chamber contracting Gilman for the RNA study, he decided to be a candidate for Goleta City Council.

“The analysis is straight forward. We are very pleased with how it elucidates Goleta’s unfair revenue-neutrality arrangement with the county,” said Jim Knight, board chairman of the Goleta Valley chamber. “The chamber has a responsibility to provide precise in-depth analysis of tough economic issues that affect the business community in Goleta.”

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