LAGUNA HILLS : Laguna Hills Says It Could Pay Own Way

If Laguna Hills became a city, it would have the financial ability to pay for its own police, fire department, animal control and library services without the county's help, according to a study presented to the Local Agency Formation Commission this week.

Ellen Martin, co-chairman of the Citizens to Save Laguna Hills, said the latest study commissioned by her group proves that the proposed city of Laguna Hills is feasible.

"It's been expensive, but we're not quitting, no matter what (LAFCO) tells us," Martin said. "We're going to fight until we're incorporated."

The cost of the latest study was $5,000, she said, in addition to $5,600 worth of other reports the committee has provided to the county this year.

The study came in response to a June 26 letter from James Colangelo, LAFCO's executive director, asking for further information on the ability of the proposed city to provide its own services. The cityhood group in April had presented LAFCO with a petition for cityhood and a feasibility study proposing that the county provide contract services for police, firefighting, animal control and a library system.

The financially strapped county currently contracts to provide those services to the last three Orange County cities to incorporate: Mission Viejo, Dana Point and Laguna Niguel.

Citizens to Save Laguna Hills is working to place the cityhood question on the March, 1991 ballot. The group wants to form a city in Laguna Hills excluding Leisure World.

The Citizens to Save Laguna Hills group is backing the third attempt at cityhood for an area encompassing Laguna Hills in the past two years. In November, 1988, a vote for a city made up of the entire Saddleback Valley except Mission Viejo failed, as did a June, 1989, vote for cityhood in Laguna Hills including Leisure World.

LAFCO has scheduled a public hearing for Oct. 3 to consider the latest cityhood proposal.

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