Sunday, February 14, 2016

Community Meeting: CSDs - A Form of Self Government

The community of Wonder Valley is invited and welcome to attend and participate in a meeting regarding CSDs - A Form of Self Government a discussion with Gayl Swarat and Donna Munoz Saturday, March 26, 10:00 a.m. Wonder Valley Community Center 80526 ½ Amboy Road, Wonder Valley, CA Gayl Swarat and Donna Munoz, board members of the Morongo Valley CSD (Community Service District), will be in Wonder Valley to tell us the pros and cons of having a CSD - a form of independent local government used to provide services in unincorporated areas of a county. The Morongo Valley Community Service District was formed in 1958 and governs MV’s - fire and paramedic services - park - library - street lights Gayl Swarat 
is the MAC Delegate for Morongo Valley and a board member of the Morongo Valley CSD Donna Munoz
is the General Manager of the Morongo Valley CSD and is also on the board of Morongo Basin Ambulance
Copper Mountain Mesa voted to form a Community Service Area (CSA) which allows the San Bernardino County Office of Special Districts to manage our fire, park, and roads.

Read more about the Morongo Valley CSD WHAT IS A CSD? Did you know that Morongo Valley has its own form of government? Many people don’t realize we are a Community Services District (CSD) and that our Community’s business is conducted by a 5 member Board of elected local citizens. All serve as volunteers and are unpaid for representing us (they are perhaps the only CSD Board in the State who do not draw a meeting stipend!). A special district is a separate local form of government that delivers a limited number of public services to a geographically limited area. The Morongo Valley CSD was formed in 1958 and oversees the Fire Department, Parks, libraries and street lighting - most other services are provided by the County of San Bernardino or State of California. There are 2 types of special districts: independent and dependent. Dependent districts are administrative extensions of cities or counties and depend on another unit of government, like a County Board of Supervisors, for their existence. Independent districts are directly responsible to their constituents and are created by local petition. The Morongo Valley CSD is an independent district. The main source of funding for the Morongo Valley CSD is from property tax allocations, a benefit assessment, fire & park fees and grants. 1% of our property tax bills are allocated to San Bernardino County. The CSD receives 20% of the County’s 1% allocation. In other words for every $1.00 paid by a resident of Morongo in property taxes only 0.2 of one cent is received by the CSD. The benefit assessment directly funds fire department operations. The paramedic services, added when the benefit assessment passed, are funded from general funds. The Paramedic Program allows us to offer upgraded medical services via the Fire Department. The closest ambulance service is located in Joshua Tree, often a 30 minute response time, away. Since over 60% of department calls are for medical aids, the Board of Directors felt strongly about bringing enhanced service to the Morongo Valley residents. Fire Services operational expenses constitute over 70% of the annual budget. The CSD is able to provide quality, local services by running a combination paid and volunteer Fire Department. A small core of paid personnel staff the engine, and offer paramedic and administrative duties 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. Volunteers are Fire Academy graduates who volunteer in exchange for furthering their certifications and training opportunities while serving Morongo Valley. The only other personnel are the General Manager, a park groundsman and a part time office worker. The General Manager is the Board secretary and is responsible for office administration, human resources, grant writing and administration, budget & policy oversight and representation of the community on the County and State level. The groundsman is responsible for landscaping duties, watering, sprinkler repair, trash removal and pruning. MVCSD and FD positions are paid approximately half the rate paid to comparable positions at the County or State level and are not offered retirement benefits.