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Citrus Heights fought the County...and won

The City of Citrus Heights has pages on its web site that trace the history of Citrus Heights. The pages concerning events from the 1970s forward (Parts 4 and 5) describe the efforts of the local Chamber of Commerce to work towards formation of a new city. The Chamber was concerned that the County was, “unable to resolve growing problems resulting from increased urban growth, particularly the number of county sheriff officers needed to combat the community's car thefts, residential burglaries, and vandalism.” In 1984 the Chamber formed the Citrus Heights Incorporation Project, which initiated the formal process of establishing the new municipality. Leading up to that time, incorporation efforts in the area had encountered a string of defeats that, according to the web site, were “attributable primarily to opposition by the County Board of Supervisors.“ The incorporation proponents had thus anticipated a tough, expensive uphill struggle. The County fought hard against local control for Citrus Heights. Eventually the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of the proponents in a lawsuit brought by the County. Unwilling to take no for an answer, the County then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the California court’s ruling by declining to hear the County’s case. After raising money for a full-blown Environmental Impact Report {Note: an arguably unnecessary diversion, as will be discussed in this blog in a later post} and negotiating a 25-year alimony payment to the County, the proposal to incorporate was placed on the November 1996 ballot. Even more money had to be raised for a ballot measure campaign, as there was major opposition from the usual suspects. After 12 years, the proponents’ campaign was successful, as the voters of Citrus Heights approved becoming a city by a margin of 62.5% - a “landslide” of sorts, as only a simple majority vote was required. The City of Citrus Heights is doing well, as can be seen from the City’s resident satisfaction surveys and annual reports. The moral of the story: it’s not easy to gain control of your own community, but it can be done.

May contain: plant and grass
The City of Citrus Heights, which celebrated its 22nd birthday in 2019, is getting close to the end of its alimony payments to the County. {Photo Credit: City of Citrus Heights)
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