Montecito Ponders Cityhood

Discussions regarding the prospect of Montecito cityhood, which tend to pop up every few years, have resurfaced once again, and the Montecito Association-though not taking one side or the other-has begun a series of three community forums addressing different aspects of the issue. The first, held on 6/16, featured Local Agency Formation Commission executive director Bob Braitman, who informed the crowd of roughly 100 residents of governmental options for the community and how to go about making them a reality. Incorporation means change, said David Mulinax of the League of California Cities. Some residents wondered if the recent cityhood dialogue was being pushed by developers. Incorporation could lead to the city being forced to absorb more of the state-mandated housing, even though the community currently has no affordable housing units. Another motivation for the recent talks could be the desire for Montecito to exert greater control over the revenue it generates. Notably, property tax from the 10,000-person Montecito community equals 79.5 percent of the property tax of the City of Santa Barbara, a city with nine times the population.

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