A lot more information is needed before a thoughtful decision can be made on whether the unincorporated community of Salida should eventually become part of the city of Modesto.
Much, but not all, of that information involves money and the potential costs and benefits for the jurisdictions and property owners involved.
We think it makes sense for the city and Stanislaus County to split the cost of a fiscal impact analysis of annexation, knowing full well that this report won't answer all of the questions. Other factors will have to be studied, including what is probably the most important whether Salidans want to become Modestans.
The cost for this initial analysis is minimal in the big scope of the two organizations' budgets $33,000 for each. The Board of Supervisors has the item on this morning's agenda. The City Council will consider it Wednesday evening on a special meeting day because of National Night Out activities today.
This analysis will focus on the potential impact on the city and the county general funds. A draft report is expected to be completed 60 days after the consultant has all of the needed data, suggesting that we'll see something by late fall.
The conclusions of this likely will influence whether the Modesto City Council is interested in pursuing the annexation idea further or whether Salida should remain as part of the county jurisdiction, with services coming from a variety of providers: water from the city, law enforcement from the sheriff's office, fire protection from the new Modesto Regional Fire Authority, sewer treatment from the Salida Sanitary District and so on.
What seems very unlikely at this point is that Salida will ever have the resources to become its own city.
That was the informal promise put forward in connection with the ambitious 2007 Salida Community Plan plan adopted by the Board of Supervisors, when the housing market was still riding high. The plan envisioned hundreds of half-million dollar homes, a major shopping center and business park all relying on development fees from the houses. We agree with Supervisor Terry Withrow that the 2007 plan is no longer realistic.
This initial fiscal analysis won't provide all the answers, but it will be useful in identifying what's next for Salida.