MODESTO -- Modesto and Stanislaus County have received a draft of the fiscal study of the Salida annexation proposal, but city and county staff still need to check the numbers before it is made public, City Manager Greg Nyhoff said.
The report from Sacramento-based Goodwin Consulting Group is expected to tell city and county officials whether it makes economic sense for Salida to become part of Modesto. The city and county are splitting the cost of the $60,000 study.
Nyhoff said Friday that he received a copy Wednesday. He expects city and county staff will spend about 10 days checking the report for accuracy. He estimated the review will be completed by month's end.
Goodwin was hired to analyze the costs of providing law enforcement, recreation and other public services to Salida and include tax-sharing scenarios in the study. Financial assumptions provided by the city and county are woven throughout the report, and those need to be checked, Nyhoff said.
"We won't have a final copy available until we make sure the assumptions are accurate and the calculations are accurate," he said.
Modesto and county officials have said they want a better grasp of the fiscal pros and cons before taking the first steps toward annexation. Once the report is finished, an ad hoc committee composed of Modesto, Salida and county appointees could hold town hall meetings in Salida to present the results.
The panel was supposed to meet for planning purposes Thursday, but the meeting was canceled and tentatively reset for later this month, said Thomas Reeves, a committee member and chairman of the Salida Municipal Advisory Council.
Public opinion negative
Reeves expects that Modesto Mayor Garrad Marsh will be at the Jan. 29 Salida MAC meeting to answer annexation-related questions. It's unclear whether any results of the study will be known then, Reeves said.
Public reaction has been mostly negative at recent MAC meetings at which local officials discussed the potential annexation with Salida residents, the chairman said.
"I would hope that people would have a wait-and-see mentality," Reeves said. "I would imagine that the majority of residents are confused: 'What does this mean for my pocketbook? What does this mean for my services?' Hopefully, the report will provide some answers."
County leaders have said the costs of services for the unincorporated community of 13,700 residents fall about $3 million short of revenue each year. The 3,300-acre Salida Community Plan approved by county supervisors in 2007 was designed to expand the tax base.
Goodwin was hired to study the boost in tax revenue by developing commercial and industrial areas in the plan and the potential for city-county tax-sharing and funding of public services.
Marsh has cited economic development as the city's primary interest in potentially absorbing its neighbor to the north. He also has talked about a regional recreation complex near Salida.
The mayor signaled during his first State of the City address in March that he was serious about exploring the annexation. He's not the first political leader to advance the idea. Modesto's general plan has included the community since the 1990s.
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2321.