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Update on the City of Adelanto Financial Crisis

ADELANTO:( The structural deficit and the possible disincorporation of the city of Adelanto is no secret to city residents as well as other Victor Valley residents. Some speculate what caused the deficit, some attend city Hall meetings hoping to gain insight while others just turn a blind eye to the issue.

The city of Adelanto currently has a $2.6 million structural deficit that obviously did not happen overnight.  After looking over all the details, it really is no surprise. According to Adelanto City Manager, James Hart, the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), the agency that reviews all the requests for incorporation, told the city back in 1970 that they should not incorporate. The reason for this recommendation was that as a city, Adelanto would not have enough taxes to support itself. The city with “Unlimited Possibilities” because of that over four decade old choice to go ahead with the incorporation, against all odds, is now is facing the possibility of being forced to disincorporation.

The reason for the deficit is that the Police and Fire services cost the city approximately $7.4 million, when the city only receives about $4.6 million in tax revenue. All of the other city services are funded by sales taxes received, special funding for streets, and fees. “The residents, in my opinion, don’t realize that we receive only 1.75% of the property tax dollar that they pay. The City’s total property tax budget is $200,000. To put it on more clear perspective: a home that is valued at $200,000 pays the City $35.00 per year in property taxes,” explained Hart. He further explained that the balance of the property taxes the residents pay goes to schools, county and other taxing agencies.

The cities choice to incorporate many years ago, despite warnings may cause more of a financial burden on the already high percentage of low income Adelanto residents. “On the November ballot there is a proposed utility users tax of 7.95%. If this passes, it will cover the City’s deficit. If it doesn’t, then the City will have to evaluate all the services being provided and make significant cuts to them,” said Hart. The small city, that already has the propensity for a higher crime rate, can face a lower level of service including police and fire. Hart shared that the November elections will be a determining factor for the city. If the tax does not pass at that time, according to Hart they may try again in the June 2015 elections.  “If it passes, then we can cover the deficit. If it doesn’t pass, then we will have to evaluate all the options available including bankruptcy or disincorporation,”concluded Hart.

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