Rancho La Habra Can Help City Meet Budget “Challenges”

The City of La Habra’s 2017-2018 budget is balanced, but prospects for future balanced budgets are more cloudy, according to the La Habra Journal, which reported:

“While balanced, the city staff warned the [city] council on some financial challenges that are on the way. The popularity of online shopping can have an increasing negative impact on sales tax revenue as the tax is assessed at the location of the distribution center. …

“City staff warned of something even larger that will negatively impact the city’s budget. It’s based on the changes to the state pension program known as CalPERS. The state pension program revised its policies regarding the amortization of unfunded pension liabilities, which transfers the greater burden of funding to the cities.

“City staff reported that it is anticipating that the city’s pension obligation costs will continue to increase each year for at least the next decade ….”

Staff also told the Council that future development projects in the City should provide additional funds to the City, which will help to balance future budges. That’s certainly true with Rancho La Habra.

A financial analysis prepared for CalAtlantic Homes shows that the new homes in Rancho La Habra will create about $1 million a year in new revenues for the City each year over the next 20 to 30 years – or potentially more than $30 million that can be used to fund important city services.

Most of the money will come from new property taxes, a sources that is not threatened by online shopping like sales tax revenues are. Even so, the addition of 420 new homes to La Habra will certainly increase the sales taxes the City receives.

Another significant source of ongoing revenues from Rancho La Habra will be its Community Facilities District, which is projected to generate approximately $200,000 a year to fund services the City would otherwise have to fund itself.

Rancho La Habra is being proposed by CalAtlantic Homes, which was formed when two of the nation’s largest and most respected homebuilders, Standard Pacific Corp. and Ryland Group, combined in 2015. Rancho La Habra would be built on the site of Westridge Golf Club, which is slated for closure. It would keep nearly 60 percent of the site (approximately 89 acres) as parks, open space and trails, with 420 homes and a small commercial center on the remaining approximately 62 acres.

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