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Options emerge to spare Harbor District
July 07, 2015, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal

With the final report recommending dissolution of the county’s Harbor District expected July 15, Supervisor Don Horsley said Monday that other options exist that could keep the district intact.

The key, he said, is changing the district’s governance.

He feels the current board is not truly representative of all county residents and that district elections could help solve that problem.

Another option is to appoint the commissioners to the board similar to how the Port of Redwood City is governed.

“We could require the commission to have a more representative board,” said Horsley, who noted that four of the five current commissioners represent a narrow base of coastsiders, where Pillar Point Harbor is located.

The district also operates Oyster Point Marina/Park in South San Francisco.

Horsley also sits on the board of the Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCo, which recommended dissolving the district in a report last month.

The Board of Supervisors, however, contends it must first fully analyze the district’s debts and liabilities before it considers absorbing it.

The district did move in a positive direction, Horsley said, when it voted to appoint Tom Mattusch as the board’s president after Sabrina Brennan stepped down from the position.

The board will approve a letter Tuesday in response to the LAFCo’s draft report in which it recommended the county take over the special tax district’s duties.

A scathing civil grand jury report entitled “What’s the Price of Dysfunction?” came to the same conclusion last year.

LAFCo recommends dissolution based on its use of property taxes to support commercial enterprise activity, inappropriate interactions between commissioners and staff and less than adequate accounting practices.

LAFCo made its first recommendation to dissolve the district nearly 40 years ago.

In the letter to LAFCo by County Manager John Maltbie, he writes that the county would undertake a comprehensive analysis of all aspects of the district before considering whether to initiate dissolution.

“Our analysis would include, but not limited to, deferred maintenance, debts, CalPERS liability, finances, operations and staffing structure and the Oyster Point Marina joint powers agreement” with South San Francisco, Maltbie wrote in the letter to LAFCo.

The Harbor District has at least $17 million in deferred maintenance, according to LAFCo.

The analysis would have to be discussed in a public meeting before the board initiated dissolution, Maltbie wrote.

Meanwhile, the Harbor District’s response to the LAFCo report is that it is in transition and “committed to looking forward and not backward.”

“Such transitions may sometimes come with painful lessons learned and progress is not always as smooth or as quick as one would like,” Mattusch wrote to LAFCo. “In the coming months, the district will engage a permanent general manager under whose leadership the district will improve its administrative and accounting procedures, implement a new [memorandum of understanding] with its valued employees, resolve legal issues arising from past actions and improve the district’s financial condition with an increased focus on revenue-generating activities.”

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102



Tags: district, lafco, board, report, district, horsley,

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Options emerge to spare Harbor District

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