The studies detailing how much the annexation of Roseland will cost haven't even started yet, but the jockeying over how to divvy up what is sure to be a multimillion-dollar price tag is already well underway.
City officials say the annexation will be guided by two principles: Roseland residents deserve the same level of services as the rest of the city, and service levels in other parts of the city shouldn't drop as a result.
Since the city doesn't have the money to achieve both goals, it expects the county to pay its fair share of those costs.
“We feel that any neighborhood that we ask to come and be a part of Santa Rosa should expect that same level of service that the rest of the residents of Santa Rosa receive,” Community Development Director Chuck Regalia told the City Council Tuesday.
But Fifth District Supervisor Efren Carrillo urged the city to remember that it has already benefitted economically from annexing valuable sections of southwest Santa Rosa in the past.
“Roseland should not be viewed as an island of disadvantaged residents that are an economic drag on the city,” Carrillo said. “Rather, it should be considered a part of the whole, and not a burden brought on after the fact.”
Carrillo pointed out that the city in the past had been allowed to annex large pieces of southwest Santa Rosa that didn't require significant services, such as the Bellevue Ranch area, which was largely undeveloped land, and Corby Avenue, which has auto dealers that generate significant sales taxes.
At the time the county and its Local Agency Formation Commission allowed the city to selectively annex undeveloped areas surrounding Roseland “with the understanding and the belief that Roseland would systemically be annexed into the city,” Carrillo said.
In hindsight they shouldn't have allowed this to happen “without a formal written agreement from the city” that it would annex Roseland, Carrillo said.