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Press Release
County of Orange Seal COUNTY OF ORANGE

November 30, 2001
Contact: David Sundstrom
Fiscal Impact Analysis: "The Orange County Central Park and Nature Preserve Initiative"
Santa Ana - Today Auditor-Controller David E. Sundstrom filed with the Board of Supervisors a report on the fiscal impact of the Central Park Initiative that is being considered for placement on the March 5 ballot. The report was requested by the County Board of Supervisors on September 11, in conformance with Section 9111 of the State of California Elections Code. The consulting firm Public Financial Management (PFM) prepared the report on the Auditor Controller's behalf and presents what Sundstrom believes "to be a fair and objective analysis of the fiscal impacts stemming from the initiative."

PFM is a national consulting firm headquartered in Philadelphia with a local office in Newport Beach. They were selected for the analysis after an open Request for Proposal process based on the objectivity and thoroughness of their proposal. PFM staff on this project, experienced in financial impact analyses, previously worked on the proposed breakup of the City of Los Angeles and the expansion of the Los Angeles International Airport. To add to their objectivity, a senior consultant in their Philadelphia office was assigned to oversee the analysis as an extra review function to ensure the validity of assumptions and conclusions.

To further increase the level of objectivity in the analysis of many complex issues surrounding the Initiative, the report was subjected to several reviews by both supporters and opponents, as well as County staff, to gain their feedback on accuracy of material included in the analysis. This review process involved two drafts of the report and resulted in more than 300 comments that were considered by PFM and Sundstrom.

Although Sundstrom doesn't expect the supporters and opponents of the Initiative to be in complete agreement with the final report, he believes they were given ample opportunity to provide input and express concerns. According to Sundstrom, many changes were made during this review process to enhance the accuracy and validity of the report. "I believe that as a result of the entire process, we have a report that focuses on the substance of the Initiative and not the opinions or interpretations of advocates on either side of the issues," said Sundstrom.

Because the Initiative does not set forth a specific use for the El Toro facility, but instead restricts development to a range of potential uses, the report identifies the likely types of development that could occur. Based on these potential types of development, the report makes the following findings:
  • The initiative would prohibit the development of a commercial airport at El Toro.
  • The initiative does not mandate, nor provide funds for, any specific uses at El Toro.
  • The specific developments identified in the City of Irvine "Great Park" proposal are not part of the initiative and would not necessarily occur as a result of its passage
  • The most substantive economic impacts on the region and County government would be the loss of a commercial airport.
  • The economic activity that would result from any development permitted by the Initiative would be relatively minimal.Under the development scenario described in this report, average annual County spending is projected to increase slightly less than $2 million over the first 20 years, and would compete for other spending priorities subject to Board of Supervisors' approval.
  • The Initiative does not impose a new tax or tax increase. This can only be done by a vote of the electorate.
  • Any development resulting from the Initiative would occur over a relatively long timeframe.
  • Any development allowed by the initiative may result in continued County spending at El Toro.
  • It is unlikely that the initiative would result in additional environmental remediation costs, although passage would result in supplemental environmental review.
  • While not yet determined, it is likely that the County could avoid any land acquisition cost under a park or an airport development scenario.
The entire report is available on the Auditor-Controllers web site at: http://www.ocgov.com/ac/.