By ROB SCHRODER
Mayor of Martinez
In the midst of a nationwide recession, the voters of Martinez approved a $30 million bond issue to rebuild and improve our parks, library, and public pool. Over the last 11 years, those projects have been completed on time and under budget.
The Rankin Aquatic Center has been open and operating for about seven years. The Martinez Library improvements were completed at about the same time, and the Hidden Lakes completion was in 2015.
The largest project, Waterfront Park, was completed in 2017 and has a new event meadow, bathrooms, play structures, walkways, lighting, landscaping, and a state-of-the art baseball/softball complex.
Additional safety improvements have been made to the ball fields, and the snack shack is getting a makeover to make it more functional.
There is one more Measure H project to be completed and that is Golden Hills Park. Unfortunately, the contract that was awarded to the contractor was terminated, which delayed the commencement of construction. The project has been re-bid and the city council awarded the $2 million project to a new contractor late last month.
We expect construction to start in November and be completed in early spring 2020.
The city will be looking at pursuing annexations of the areas of Martinez that are not currently in the City of Martinez limits.
They are areas with children that attend Martinez schools and that have a Martinez address and zip code. These areas (Vine Hill, North Pacheco, Mountain View, and Alhambra Valley) are in what is known as the City of Martinez “sphere of influence,” also called the SOI. SOIs are determined by agencies called LAFCOs (Local Agency Formation Commissions).
In 1963, the California Legislature responded to the urban boundary wars and the problem of public finance and service they created by enacting the Local Agency Formation Commissions (LAFCOs).
This law established a commission in each county that was responsible for overseeing most forms of local government boundary changes, including incorporation, annexations, and special district formations. In the interest of more orderly development, LAFCOs were to act as judges of boundary disputes among governments and communities.
Since 1963, numerous changes have been made to the law, culminating in the current Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act of 2000 (effective January 1, 2001).
The Contra Costa LAFCO, of which I have been appointed by the cities in ContraCosta, urging that Martinez and other cities move to annex unincorporated territory in their sphere of influence to eliminate islands and provide more efficient services such as police, fire, water, and sanitary sewer and infrastructure maintenance.
The process of annexation is a very long one that requires financial analysis, tax-sharing agreements with the county, and public hearings. If less than 25% of the property owners protest in writing, LAFCO will grant the annexation. If 25% to 49% protest in writing, LAFCO will hold a protest hearing. If 50% or more protest in writing, the annexation process is terminated. So, in other words, the property owners always have the final say.