Off Beat: No laughing at LAFCO
Hang around Yuba-Sutter long enough, and you'll see just about everything — over and over.
The latest blast from the past is Marysville and its hope for growth in the future.
The venue is the county's Local Agency Formation Commission, which tries to sort out the patchwork of water districts, fire districts and every other district that provides some service to the public.
LAFCO likes cities. Cities provide a whole bunch of services under one umbrella. It's efficient.
So now here comes Marysville — again — with its "sphere of influence."
The sphere is the area that can best be served by an agency, as determined by LAFCO. It's a government thing to promote orderly growth, as this column noted in January 2009.
At one time, Marysville's sphere was humongous, going from the Butte County line to the urban sprawl of what is now Plumas Lake.
Marysville's city fathers hankered for those sales tax and property tax revenues in the Linda area, especially the Peach Tree Mall, when it still had stores.
Back in 1986 — a fateful year for Yuba County — LAFCO approved the city's primary sphere of influence, "ultimate growth area" and "ultimate sphere planning area."
All well and good, but what became of that? Not much. Marysville has been unable to break out of its boundaries. Annexation remains far out of reach because the people who would be annexed want nothing to do with a city that has seen better days.
They like living in the county, with its minimal services and minimal affect on their lives.
So what is likely to sprout from the new round of LAFCO line drawing? Probably nothing, but it's what agencies like LAFCO — a state mandate, by the way — do to justify their existence.
Buy that home now
Believe it or not, Yuba County is considered a "prominent" metro area in California.
Who says? Movoto.com, which is in the business of selling homes.
Keep that in mind.
Movoto.com said it studied 11 "prominent" metro counties in California and found that in eight of them, it's cheaper to buy a home than rent. One of those counties was Yuba, where, according to this analysis, renters pay an additional $248 per month in rent, versus owning a home and paying the mortgage and taxes.
There were a lot of caveats to this analysis, but just the fact Yuba County was among those studied is kind of intriguing.