The County of San Diego has 18 incorporated cities within its borders, each of which is provided services by the county. But there is trouble in paradise. Not all of these incorporated cities are satisfied with the current status quo.
In particular, La Jolla has been trying for some time to remove itself from San Diego’s umbrella under the guidance of several dedicated and influential residents. Most recently, they have piloted a new $40,000 feasibility study, which cityhood advocate Melinda Merryweather describes as “a first step in the long, involved incorporation process.”
The money for the study was donated by a third-generation donor who wished to remain anonymous. Previous feasibility studies launched by that group of residents in failed attempts at cityhood determined that La Jolla had the financial resources to secede from San Diego and provide its own public services. For some time now, more money has been coming out of La Jolla than goes back in, making La Jolla’s secession both practical and achievable.
However, before any dreams of cityhood can be made a reality, a number of prerequisites must be completed. The San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission is the body in charge of special districts, including the process of being cleared for cityhood. The process starts with fiscal studies on whether the potential city can maintain revenue neutrality.
This means that there wouldn’t be any increases or decreases in tax revenue, ensuring that the old city would not be supporting the new city. This has proven to be a huge obstacle for potential cities in the past as they struggle to keep their tax base fiscally viable.
Overall, the process can take months to years with the studies and hearings followed by the public voting on the issue. One way or another, La Jolla has started down a long road towards cityhood and will face many challenges along the way.