Lompoc is facing a severe budgetary problem and, as a result, vital services like police protection are severely curtailed. So far this year, there have been seven murders in Lompoc, perhaps somewhat due to lack of police officers.

So why does the City of Lompoc charge new home builders so much less for connection fees for new houses than neighboring communities? This means Lompoc residents face a severe budget crisis due to the loss of about $2 million on just the new proposed Burton Ranch housing development alone.

Do all Lompoc residents really wish to be forced to pay an additional sales tax due to severe cutbacks on public safety while builders get a sweetheart $2 million in more profits. The $2 million flows right out of average Lompoc residents’ pockets and right into the wealthy builders’ pockets!

Lompoc only charges new home builders a $10,579 connection fee per home, Vandenberg Village charges builders $14,861 for the same services and Mission Hills charges builders $16,218. The proposed Burton Mesa project is for almost 500 new connections, or roughly 500 x $5,500, or more than $2 million savings going into the builders’ pockets.

Do you realize that Vandenberg Village charges builders more than $1,100 per sewer connection fee per home more than Lompoc does, but they both use the exact same sewer plant. This example shows how, for the Burton Ranch case, Lompoc citizens are being asked to subside builders by about $500,000 for the exact same services compared to the fiscally sound Vandenberg Village citizens.

The Lompoc City Council needs to stop giving sweetheart deals to builders while letting Lompoc citizens pay higher taxes. Let’s stop the money flowing from our pocketbooks straight into the builders’ pockets. Vandenberg Village and Mission Hills are fiscally sound; Lompoc’s poor fiscal management is only hurting its own taxpayers.

This is how the City of Lompoc can be $2 million ahead: Start charging the “going rates” to builders.

Michael Donohue

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