Custom Search
CivicLifeSportsSchoolsBusinessFoodOur HomesLetters/OpinionsCalendar

Published April 3rd, 2019
County agency reports challenges faced by Lamorinda municipalities

Lamorinda municipalities provide sufficient public services but, though in good financial shape for the most part, are deficient in some areas, according to a Contra Costa County report that analyzed services provided by each of the county's 19 cities and towns and four of its community service districts.
The report, the Municipal Services Review, was published under the direction of the Local Agency Formation Commission, an agency that regulates boundaries and service areas in Contra Costa County. Categories covered in the document include demographic information, governmental structure, capacity to deliver adequate service and the financial condition of each public entity. "The MSR serves as a resource to help the public better understand how municipal services are provided," says the document introduction.
Likely of surprise to no one is that in all three Lamorinda municipalities there are fewer jobs than there are housing units. Data in the MSR was compiled for 2010 and projected for 2040, with Lafayette and Moraga coming just under a 1:1 ratio of jobs-to-housing units by 2040. Orinda projects at under 80 percent jobs-to-housing for the same period. Similar data was presented by all three Lamorinda municipalities as a rebuttal to the regional housing plan developed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which called for more housing units in Lamorinda.
Unlike the 2009 MSR, which provided an exhaustive listing of all government functions and services, the updated report also pointed out specific deficiencies in the management of each public entity.
Lafayette was noted for its capital spending not keeping up with asset depreciation, and failing to maintain current infrastructure needs. According to the report, Lafayette has identified only $1.7 million out of the $2.3 million needed to maintain its roads at the pavement condition index of 77, exceeding the 75 target set by the MTC.
"City Engineer Mike Moran has been working with the Capital Projects Assessment Committee to develop cost estimates for the future maintenance of our roads in order to maintain the PCI at an acceptable level," said Niroop Srivatsa, Lafayette interim city manager. "CPAC and Mike will present their report and findings at the April 22 Council meeting."
Sharing the lower than acceptable PCI standard was Moraga, which was also cited for its shortage in capital funding. Broadband service delivered to the town as reported by the East Bay Broadband Consortium does not meet standards set by the California Public Utilities Commission, and the town's unfunded pension liability, which could increase from $250,000 to $770,000 in four years, "may reduce funding for other priorities," according to the MSR. Moraga officials did not respond to requests for comment on the report by press time.
Orinda broadband service did not measure up to CPUC minimum standards, and the city CPI index was the lowest in Lamorinda at 60. The LAFCO report faulted Orinda for late issuance of its comprehensive annual financial report and recommended that the city "could incorporate changes to improve the transparency of its financials," finding fault with the readability of certain financial tables in the CAFR.
City Manager Steve Salomon blamed the late CAFR on the 2017 Miner Road sinkhole and its commensurate challenges, and also that Orinda went two months without a financial manager and changed city managers that year. "Orinda has been spending a huge amount of money on our roads. By next year, the residential component will be complete, and the city is on a path to be one of the best-rated in the Bay Area," Salomon said.
Overall, the MSRs concluded that the Lamorinda municipalities appear to be in good enough financial condition to continue providing services and to accommodate infrastructure expansion, improvements or replacement over the next five years.
"MSRs provide a wealth of information," said Lou Ann Texiera, LAFCO executive officer. "The MSRs are interactive reports with input from the local agencies under review. LAFCO welcomes comments and input from the public."
All three Lamorinda agencies are expected to present the MSRs for review at public meetings, and LAFCO will hold its own public hearing April 17. The final MSRs should be available in June.

print story

Before you print this article, please remember that it will remain in our archive for you to visit anytime.
download pdf
(use the pdf document for best printing results!)
Send your comment to:
Reach the reporter at:

This article was published on Page A9:

Quick Links for LamorindaWeekly.com
send artwork to:
Classified ads
Lamorinda Service Directory
About us and How to Contact us
Letter to the Editor
Send stories or ideas to:
Send sports stories and photos to:
Subscribe to receive a delivered or mailed copy
Subscribe to receive storylinks by email
Our Homes
Copyright Lamorinda Weekly, Moraga CA