SR council, county supervisors await update on talks on cost for services

For 60 years, Roseland residents have lived under the jurisdiction of a county able to provide only a rural level of services while increasingly encircled by a city that couldn't afford to give them much better.

But Sonoma County's largest unincorporated island, and at 6,000 residents its most populated, is at the center of talks that could have Roseland residents calling Santa Rosa home.

For the past two years, city and county officials have been discussing what is seen as Roseland's inevitable transfer to the city. Negotiations have intensified in the past several months.

On Tuesday, the City Council and county Board of Supervisors will receive updates and be asked for direction on how to proceed.

"This is a confirmation point," said Councilman Mike Martini, who has been involved in the talks. "We've been marching down a road, and now we want to make sure the troops are with us."

There is one huge stumbling block. It is money, specifically how much it will cost to provide municipal services to a neighborhood raised on a rural level of service.

A report prepared by city consultants says that providing police, fire and other services will cost $33.5 million more than the city gains in tax revenue in the first 10 years after annexation.

Most of that deficit, about $27 million, is attributed to a higher level of policing proposed by the city. A county consultant said the figures are inflated and put the overall deficit at $7.3 million.

Both sides expect to have their consultants get together amid hopes they can reach agreement on what the actual deficit will be.

The city report also says that annexing Roseland and a 167-acre tract on the west edge of Santa Rosa surrounding Wright Elementary School will require $108 million over the next 20 years to match the infrastructure - streets, utilities, parks - found in the city.

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