REGION — June 12, 2014 will mark 25 years since the Joint Powers Authority was formed. With the agreement end date approaching, member agencies, initiated by the city of Del Mar followed by San Diego County and Solana Beach, signed an extension on May 16 that gives the JPA 50 more years of governance over the San Dieguito River Park.
“The agreement was first signed on June 12, 1989,” said Susan Carter, deputy director of the San Dieguito River Park. “And it was for 25 years, or (the agreement) said it could be extended for an additional 50 years at the end of that time.”
The JPA, which is comprised of the cities of Del Mar, Escondido, Poway, Solana Beach, and San Diego and one citizen representative, has the ability to implement planning and projects in a regional level affecting the San Dieguito River Park area.
That’s something a local government entity on its own wouldn’t be able to do, given the restrictions of individual jurisdictional boundaries.
Before the extension was signed, the JPA Board was considering another option of revising the original 25 year agreement.
Carter explained that a revised agreement was drafted and approved by all of the member agencies except for the city of San Diego.
In order for that revised agreement to be adopted, all of the six member agencies would have needed to approve it to make it official.
“If we didn’t take a separate action, then we were still looking at ending this June,” Carter said.
The board instead opted to set aside the revised agreement and vote to extend the original agreement.
That only took two agencies to agree to extend it.
“I think it gives a clear showing of support that the river park will be a regional asset for 50 years to come — twice the length of time of the original agreement — and it shows how critical this park is to our quality of life,” said Dave Roberts, the JPA board chairman and County Supervisor for District 3.
The cities already involved will remain within the JPA.
Carter explained that if a city opted to leave, it would have to give a 90-day notice.
As the agreement is written now, the JPA doesn’t have the ability to allow new cities to join. “But the revised agreement that we were looking at did talk about that a little bit,” Carter said. “It talked about a mechanism for having a new agency join in as a partner.”
Though if one agency left the JPA, another could potentially come in to fill that vacancy, Carter explained.
She added that there aren’t many cities knocking on the door to join because the agreement affects the agencies that are closest or more involved, more integral to where the planning area of the park is.
The city agencies do contribute financially to the JPA, which Carter said is voluntary. “They pay a percentage of our annual budget each year. So when we do our budget, the lion’s share of that revenue does come from our member agencies.”
That percentage amount is based on a formula, Carter explained, that combines acreage within the focused planning area of the park and population of the agency.
This year, using updated Census numbers, the city of San Diego and the county pay 31 percent, Poway and Escondido each pay 13 percent, and Del Mar and Solana Beach each pay 6 percent, said Carter.
Each of the nine serving JPA Board members has to be an elected official that is selected by their own agencies as their representatives.