Services & Special Districts

We support sound planning for local services.
Position In Brief: 

The League of Women Voters of Ventura County supports planning for services on the broadest practical basis, and public libraries as a basic service of government with adequate funding by local, state and federal governments (1960-62, 1963-64, 1966-67, 1971, 1973).

Position History: 

1996 Supported annual parcel tax of $35 per parcel exclusively for the Ojai Library. The City of Ojai and the Board of Supervisors were successful and levied this tax on residents of the Ojai Valley

1995 League made statements to VC Board of Supervisors in support of County library system.

Government Position 

Services & Special Districts 

Special Districts - Specifics of Position

  1. Support planning for services on the broadest practical basis, including agencies for parks and recreation, water, waste disposal, and air pollution control.
  • Maximum accountability of agency to constituents.
  • Equitable sharing of costs relative to benefit.
  • Boundary size appropriate to the service (i.e., drainage, air basin, etc.).

3. Support reducing the number of special districts through dissolution or consolidation. Regular review to determine if special districts are equitably and effectively serving a need and do not duplicate services.

4. Encourage the statutory purposes and responsibilities of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO).

Libraries - Specifics of Position

Support public libraries as a basic service of government with adequate funding by local, state and federal governments. Support free access by all persons to public library service as a means for lifelong education and learning, and as a major source of knowledge and information necessary for informed, active participation in a democratic society.

  1. Recognition of the essential service of free public libraries in a democratic society and government’s basic obligation to provide the service with adequate funding.
  2. Recognition that basic library services include:
  • Provision of services for all users including children, young adults and handicapped persons.
  • Open hours on weekday mornings, afternoons and evenings, and on Saturday.
  • Professional staff for children, young adults, reference, and administration.
  • Provision of books, periodicals, documents, California and local history items, large print materials, computer based indexing and an accurate and easily used catalogue system. 

3.  Support the use of all available funding for public libraries:

  • Recognition by local governments that they have the prime responsibility to finance public libraries.
  • Increased state and federal aid for public libraries.
  • Support increased local tax revenues.
  • Continued and increased private funding to expand library facilities and supplement services.
  • Opposition to charging fees for basic library services.

4. Support measures designed to increase the efficiency and economy of public library operations:

  • Consolidation of library functions or systems to achieve cost effectiveness, maintenance and improvement of services, accessibility and responsiveness.
  • Consideration of fees for special library services.
  • Use of volunteers to supplement paid staff.

5. Support improvement of existing facilities or construction of new ones to make provision of essential services easier and to increase accessibility. Recognition that library facilities should be accessible to the public, should have adequate light, heating, study space, seating, storage space, work rooms for staff, access for handicapped persons, parking, and should be clean and properly maintained.

Background

First studied in 1960-62, this position has been reconsidered along with related studies through the years and was adopted as a program item in 1973 for special review. Consensus following that review did not change the position materially, but the League members expressed concern for more local control, stating that special districts were sometimes the only available method to provide needed services. League members supported land-use planning as the most appropriate tool to control growth and development but did not oppose defensive special districts to reinforce control.

LAFCO’s statutory purposes include “the discouragement of urban sprawl and the encouragement of orderly governmental boundaries based upon local circumstances and conditions.” The commission is responsible for working closely with counties, cities, and special districts. It is the procedural guide for annexations, detachments, consolidations, dissolutions and reorganizations.

Such boundary commissions were created by the State of California in 1963 and exist in each County of California. In addition to being quasi-legislative agencies they are also planning agencies with responsibility for determining Spheres of Influence. A “sphere of influence” is the probable ultimate physical boundary and service area of a local governmental agency.

In 1994 the Ventura area of the league became increasingly concerned with cuts in funds to the county library system. These cuts were due, in part, to shortages in the county’s general fund. Leaguers came to concurrence with the Marin County study. The objective of the position taken by Marin’s League was “Recognition of the essential service of free public libraries in a democratic society and government’s basic obligation to provide the service with adequate funding.” In order for funds to be adequate they should be obtained from any available source, but the position stated that local government had the prime responsibility.

League to which this content belongs: 
Ventura County