Monday, September 8, 2008

What about a Municipal Advisory Council?

September 8, 2008 about 7:30 am...

At a recent Big Sur MAAC meeting, Congressman Sam Farr brought to my attention the provision in California law that allows for an entity called a "Municipal Advisory Council" or MAC.

The purpose of such a group is to allow a community to "advise" the county supervisors on what the community's needs are and through this method, get a "seat at the table" gain some local "clout" and garner funds, via grants, etc... otherwise-unavailable to individuals.

Shall we consider asking Dave Potter's office to sponsor a Jamesburg-Cachagua Municipal Advisory Council? Is anyone interested in forming such a group? What are the pros and cons of this in our area?

Unlike "Incorporation" or the formation of a "Service" or "Fire" district, we would not need LAFCO approval, nor would it cost anything to do this.

Here's the citation:
Municipal Advisory Councils

(Excerpt from California Government Code Section 31010)



31010. The board of supervisors of any county may by resolution establish and provide funds for the operation of a municipal advisory council for any unincorporated area in the county to advise the board on such matters which relate to that area as may be designated by the board concerning services which are or may be provided to the area by the county or other local governmental agencies, including but not limited to advice on matters of public health, safety, welfare, public works, and planning. Unless the board of supervisors specifically provides to the contrary, a municipal advisory council may represent the community to any state, county, city, special district or school district, agency or commission, or any other organization on any matter concerning the community. The board may pay from available funds such actual and necessary expenses of travel, lodging, and meals for the members of the council while on such official business as may be approved by the board.

The resolution establishing any such municipal advisory council shall provide for the following:

(a) The name of the municipal advisory council.

(b) The qualifications, number, and method of selection of its members, whether by election or appointment.

(c) Its designated powers and duties.

(d) The unincorporated area or areas for which the municipal advisory council is established.

(e) Whether the establishment of the council should be submitted to the voters and the method for such submission; provided that if an election is required pursuant to subdivision (b), such election shall be held at the same time as an election held pursuant to this subdivision.
(f) Such other rules, regulations and procedures as may be necessary in connection with the establishment and operation of the municipal advisory council.

(Added by Stats. 1971, Ch. 348; Amended by Stats. 1975, Ch. 336; Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 41.)

Links to some existing MACs...

Example of a MAC for an unincorporated area...

July 18, 2002
Lockeford to hold first MAC meeting tonight

By Ross Farrow/News-Sentinel staff writer

Today will be a historic occasion with the first-ever meeting of the Lockeford Municipal Advisory Council.

The seven-member council will advise San Joaquin County officials about issues covering public works projects, public health, safety, welfare and land-use issues in the Lockeford area.

The council consists of temporary chairman Timothy Fowler along with Robert Marty, Lani Eklund, Peter Bregman, Don Litchfield, Chris Littlefield and Roy Wales.

"We hope to be the spokespeople for the community and hope to have a little more clout than individuals would," said Bregman, a certified and financial planner who has lived near Highway 88 and Kettleman Lane since 1978.

"I hope it will be a voice for the community and help to shape the community so that we can live in Lockeford and enjoy the reasons we moved to Lockeford," said Eklund, co-owner of the historic Inn at Locke House on Elliott Road.

The council's inaugural meeting will begin at 7 p.m. today at the Lockeford Community Center's McDonald Building, 19456 N. Jack Tone Road. Monthly public meetings will be held on the third Thursday of each month.

In addition to electing officers, Fowler has placed four items on the MAC's first agenda:

A report by Chris Locke, a Lockeford Community Services District board member, on plans for Lockeford's first park. It could be built on 10.21 acres the district purchased this year from the pioneer Hammond family on Tully Road, just south of Lockeford Elementary School.

What can be done with the large abandoned building at the northwest corner of Highway 88 and Elliott in the heart of Lockeford's business district.

A tentative subdivision map for Lockeford Vista, Unit 2, a proposal for about 34 homes on the south side of Highway 88 in the eastern end of town. The Lockeford Vista developer, however, has not acquired water and sewer rights, according to Joe Salzman, general manager of the Lockeford Community Services District.

Plans for traffic signals on Highway 88 at Victor Road and on the highway at the Tully/Elliott road intersection.

Two more stop lights are planned on Highway 88, one at Victor Road and another at the intersection of Tully and Elliott roads. Bregman said he wants to make sure Caltrans' plans don't become delayed like they have in the past.

Fowler said a Caltrans representative is scheduled to attend the MAC's Aug. 15 meeting.

Fowler noted the need for more traffic safety in light of two major accidents that took place in the Lockeford area during the past week. One was a fatal truck-pedestrian accident on Highway 88 near Victor Road, and another crash at Elliott and Highway 88.

"That's somewhat of a frequent occurrence," Fowler said.

Bregman said he hopes a municipal advisory council in Lockeford can encourage important projects like traffic lights on Highway 88 to be accelerated.

He said he has witnessed many severe traffic accidents near his residence at Highway 88 and Kettleman Lane, yet it took until last fall to have a traffic light installed at that intersection.

Municipal advisory council at-a-glance
A municipal advisory council consists of residents within a community's boundaries who will advise San Joaquin County officials about issues of interest within the community.
Issues will include land use, public works projects, public health, safety and welfare.

The Lockeford Municipal Advisory Council boundaries extend north to the Mokelumne River, west to Tretheway Road, south to Kettleman Lane and east to Tully Road between Kettleman and Brandt Road. North of Brandt, the eastern boundary is Disch Road.

Lockeford becomes the fifth community to have a municipal advisory council established by the Board of Supervisors. The others are Woodbridge, Morada, Linden and French Camp. Beginning in 2004, the council seats will be elected positions.

The Lockeford MAC consists of seven people who live within the council boundaries.
Timothy Fowler, council president for tonight's meeting, has owned for seven years an arbitration business in Lockeford, where he handles real estate disputes, medical disputes with insurance companies and negotiates debt settlements with businesses in debt.

"I try to keep the parties from going into court," Fowler said. Fowler has also owned Computer Bob's on Highway 88 in Lockeford for two years. Born and raised in Lodi, Fowler was a building contractor for 25 years before deciding to get out of the business. He spent 10 years in Amador County before moving to Lockeford four years ago. 
He was project coordinator for the Lodi Veterans Plaza project and is vice president of the Veterans Plaza Foundation.

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