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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 6:02 pm | Fair 62º


Citing Public Safety and Other Concerns, Guadalupe Rebuffs Grand Jury’s Call for Disincorporation

Snubbing the recommendations of the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury, the Guadalupe City Council has declared that disincorporation is neither warranted nor reasonable.

The comments are part of a required written response to the grand jury’s April report, “Guadalupe’s Shell Game Must End.” The report recommended that the city seriously consider dissolving itself.

“In passing three tax measures last fall, Guadalupe voters made it clear they do not want to disincorporate,” the city’s written response says.

“This is not just a matter of small-town pride. It also has to do with public safety. Guadalupe residents want to ensure police and fire protection services come from within the city limits.”

Guadalupe sought proposals from the county sheriff’s and fire departments about providing public safety protection in the city, the council noted.

“Moving from a five-minute response (current situation) to 20-minute response (service out of Orcutt) would place Guadalupe citizens at risk,” the council wrote.

“Guadalupe residents are particularly mindful of the negative law enforcement situation that exists in Tanglewood, an unincorporated community not far away.”

The written report echoes many of the statements made during an April 14 City Council meeting, only days after the release of the grand jury recommendations.

Guadalupe disagrees with many of the grand jury’s 13 findings and partially disagrees with many others.

Three tax measures approved by Guadalupe voters in November will provide critical revenue for the municipality. The city also is looking to generate another $175,000 through franchise fees and other revenue options.

The start of construction for the 800-home Pasadera development — formerly dubbed DJ Farms — will bring in another $100,000.

In all, Guadalupe expects $600,000 to help ease its financial woes and allow the city to end wage and benefit concessions made by municipal workers, according to the response to the grand jury.

Many of the problems cited by the grand jury were uncovered by city staff and had been resolved in the months since the panel investigated the matter, city officials said. Last year, then-Mayor Frances Romero requested that the grand jury investigate the city.

The council had 90 days to file its written response, and it appointed a two-member committee to draft a reply that was reviewed by the full council.

The civil grand jury, made up of volunteers who serve a one-year term, fulfills a government watchdog role.

California law requires the panel to inspect county and city jails and detention facilities, and to review county financial accounts and records.

However, the grand jury relies on its own discretion and citizens’ suggestions to determine other issues to investigate. From January through May, the panel released eight reports on subjects as varied as the Montecito Water District, Las Positas tennis facility and Ebola preparedness.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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