Thursday, November 13, 2008

Update on the San Martin Incorporation Struggle

San Martin the City?


I love San Martin. There is a certain charm unique to this area where you constantly encounter surprises such as a field of sunflowers, a growth of beautiful wild roses entwined over a fence, pygmy horses, alpacas or even llamas amidst the constant contrast of new construction and old farm homes. There is a lot of charm and personality to be found here in San Martin. But more than the charm, there are a lot of people who live in San Martin who want to be in charge of their own destiny and turn San Martin into its own city.


According to a recent article in the Morgan Hill Times, San Martin cannot incorporate because it is not financially self-sustaining. The county won’t consider paying for its road maintenance or allowing its independence to further drain county coffers as it seeks cityhood. LAFCO, which stands for the Santa County Local Agency Formation Commission, has been discussing San Martin’s plans to being a city since February 2007. If incorporated, the majority of its revenue would come from property taxes and transient occupancy taxes (hotel taxes) as well as vehicle license fees, sales taxes and a proposed utility user’s tax. Not surprisingly, the issue seems to revolve mostly around money. The county’s general fund could stand to lose $870,000 per year if San Martin incorporates. However, there is a strong contingent in the form of the San Martin Neighborhood Alliance who feels strongly that the people of San Martin will do a better job of preserving the real character of the town than the county will.


The latest update from the Morgan Hill Times reports LAFCO voted 4 to 1 to stop all work on the incorporation process at a public hearing last Friday as well as to prepare a resolution to deny the incorporation based on the proponents failure to pay staff fees. However, supporters of the incorporation are not giving up. You can learn more about what they have to say by going to http://www.smneighbor.org/ and hearing their side of the story.

Any comments?

1 comment:

Gretchen said...

Good article Harriet. I know that there are definitely two sides to this issue. I have spoken to quite a few San Martinians who do not want to incorporate and are afraid that incorporation will eventually lead to a loss of the rural nature of the town.