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Old Posted Aug 18, 2007, 5:13 PM
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Story appeared in ARDEN CARMICHAEL section, Page G1

The on-again, off-again drive to turn Arden Arcade into a city is inching its way toward next year's ballot.

After missing a July 1 deadline and a nine-day extension to come up with $33,000, cityhood proponents have paid their first bill and are working on their second payment.

The payments go toward funding their share of fiscal and environmental studies before the issue can be put before voters. The incorporation backers' total share is expected to be about $200,000.

"The consultants can start work," said Peter Brundage, executive director of the Local Agency Formation Commission.

But because of the missed deadline, LAFCO, the body in charge of political boundaries, cannot guarantee that the studies will be done in time for the November 2008 election.

Brundage also said though he has signed a contract with Joel Archer, chairman of the cityhood effort, the contract is binding only as long as there is money to cover the cost of the studies.

"We will make our best efforts, but if the money is spent before more money comes in, the work will stop," Brundage said.

Archer, who is not required to disclose how much he has raised until the election campaign begins, is confident he will be able to make the payments.

"We have it promised. I believe the money will be there," Archer said last week.

The next deadline, or "target date," as Archer likes to describe it, is Sept. 1 for $28,000 in cash.

"At this point, we don't see any reason we can't make it," Archer said.

Early on, Rancho Cordova donated $25,000, and the cities of Citrus Heights, Folsom, Galt and Elk Grove each gave $5,000. On July 19, Citrus Heights gave another $10,000.

Tonight, the nine-member board of the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District is expected to lend its support to the incorporation effort.

"We are going to pass a resolution of support for the voters to decide if they want to be a city or not," board member Greg Granados said. "We have a general consensus that we support cityhood."

If the cityhood effort fails and Sacramento annexes the Arden Arcade area, the district could lose $20 million to $27 million, six fire stations, 90 employees and two board members, Granados said.

The district now provides fire protection services to Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova and serving a third city "wouldn't make much difference," Granados said.

Although the board can not legally donate money to political causes, the firefighters union, Local 522, can and has, said Pat Monahan, vice president of the union.

"We are absolutely in favor of the citizens going through the process and voting on it," Monahan said of the union that has donated $3,000 to the cityhood cause.

The union is considering giving more, Monahan said.

Mike Duveneck, committee chairman of Stay Sacramento, a group opposing cityhood, is critical of Archer's financial supporters, describing them as "special interests."

"The cities are spending taxpayer money to get involved in this, and they shouldn't," Duveneck said.

"This is not a fire board or firefighter union question. Their business is fire protection, not political issues," Duveneck said.
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