Newberry Springs, Daggett, Yermo CSDs
To Have An Early Review By The
Local Agency Formation Commission

LAFCO has essentially placed a choker chain around the neck of the Newberry CSD.
Newberry CSD should officially receive the ominous news in about 2-3 weeks.

Daggett and Yermo impacted by Newberry's mismanagement.

September 20, 2013

      Every five years, or so, a Community Service District (CSD) must go through a Local Agency Formation Commission review, from which the CSD is authorized.  We say approximately 5-years because the review timing isn't set in stone.  It can be 5 years or more depending upon circumstances; however, 5 years is the legal target.

      Unfortunately, the Newberry CSD directors have so badly mismanaged the CSD that the CSD now shamefully carries the infamous SCARLET MARK of the county's 2013 Grand Jury's condemnation.

      Based upon the Grand Jury's conclusions, LAFCO at its last hearing on Wednesday, September 18, 2013, in the City of San Bernardino's council chambers, followed the 2013 Grand Jury's Report and implemented an Out of Cycle Service Review for Newberry Springs.  The vote was for Option #2 on LAFCO's Agenda Item 8.

      As shown in Agenda Item 8, Option #2 was taken with the financial concern of costs totalling at least $15,000.  However, due to the severity of the Newberry CSD situation, Option #2, an early review, was deemed necessary.  Because the Daggett and Yermo CSDs are reviewed at the same time as Newberry's, Daggett and Yermo's CSDs will be reviewed early also.

      This Blotter's blog is the first public notice of the expedited reviews to be later served upon the CSDs.  The CSDs are not expected to receive official word for about 2 to 3 weeks whereby requests for documents and a full blown review is expected to follow.

      After the June 2013 release of the Grand Jury's report, the Newberry CSD has been scrambling to catch-up with its many delinquencies.  One being the absence of 3-years of audited financials.  Although the first audit of 2009-2010 has been completed with a finding of $29,000 in unaccountable funds, audits for 2010-2011, and 2011-1012 still must be accomplished.

      By law, a financial audit must be completed each fiscal year.  The Newberry CSD's official response to the 2013 Grand Jury Report is believed due September 28, 2013.

      During the last LAFCO review in 2009, LAFCO was recommending that the Newberry Springs, Daggett, and Yermo CSDs consolidate.  Recognizing the deficiencies in Newberry Springs ability to seat qualified individuals upon the local CSD board and staff, LAFCO felt that with the merger of the three CSDs, together they could afford to hire a professional General Manager.

      The mere thought of a merger had the populations almost rioting as if their individual sovereignties were about to be stripped from them.  People showed up in mass at a public hearing at the Silver Valley High School auditorium.

      This time around LAFCO will be armed with the very damaging 2013 Grand Jury Report that substantiates that Newberry Springs cannot properly govern itself.  While there are definite benefits in consolidation, it isn't the answer.  There are too many differences between the communities.  While Daggett is comprised of small residential sized lots, Newberry Springs has large parcels.

      There are also vast differences in culture, focus and goals.  Newberry Springs for instance doesn't want to be saddled with sharing Yermo's potential water system debt.  Daggett might be better served being absorbed by Barstow or Yermo than programmatic Newberry Springs.

      Probably the best scenerio of the Newberry CSD closing would be having the powers returned to the county with a Newberry Springs Community Advisory Board being established to work directly with the First District supervisor and county staff.  With the powers returned to the county, better professional leadership would be available to Newberry Springs and perhaps more county funds being directed to the community.

      Any notion of the Newberry CSD being dissolved will likely again be met with stiff public opposition.  The past history of the Newberry CSD has shown it to have hindered the community's development.  Despite that, some citizens have convinced themselves that Newberry Springs, without many of the basic community amenities, is the perfect place to live and that the Newberry CSD should be maintained.

Related past blog:

2013 Grand Jury Slams Newberry CSD.

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