Public Works Take Center Stage in IV CSD Talks


County Service Area (CSA) 31 provides Isla Vista with services needed to maintain and improve its sidewalks, street lights, gutters and trees. CSAs are formed by the county to give unincorporated territories services that might otherwise be unavailable due to a lack of governmental structure in those areas.

IV stakeholders have stated that they want their Community Services District (CSD) to have the power to “acquire, construct, improve, and maintain sidewalks, lighting, gutters and trees to supplement the level of service already provided.” In order to have this power, they must give the Local Agency Formation District (LAFCO) a sufficient reason for them to place the power on the November ballot.

CSA 31 currently provides just over $70,000 in yearly monetary support to IV, according to documents from the County Board of Supervisors, while the current CSD budget draft wishes to allocate an additional $5,000 as a supplement. The low amount is due to this power harboring a low priority in the eyes of stakeholders.

Stakeholders came together last week to brainstorm ideas for how they could use additional funds to supplement services accessed via CSA 3.

One of the proposed projects was a collaborative work with Blunite — a UCSB student-run organization that was formed to commemorate the victims of the May 23, 2014 tragedy with blue LED lights — to provide lighting for parts of IV.

Throughout the meeting, several attendees shared ideas for what the $5,000 supplement could support.

“Cleaning [public] gutters … is actually something that is reasonable, like not too expensive and… really necessary,” third-year history of public policy major and Associated Students Senator Ashcon Minoiefar said. He said that the county does not pay much attention to the gutters because of the lack of rain, but as a result of recent storms, “a bunch of houses got flooded and a bunch of property was damaged. It’s a very needed power that the county probably doesn’t do very frequently.”

Jacob Lebell, who sits on the Board of Directors for the Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District (IVRPD), brought forth the idea of creating a group of UCSB engineers or similar specialists to help with the lighting situation. The idea stemmed from a current solar project he is involved in alongside mechanical engineers.

“What if we were to create … an organization focused on lighting that both the IVRPD and the [CSD] could then be funneling money for projects such as [this]?” Lebell said.

Additionally, UCSB Professor Kim Yasuda gave an update on the art project “Lightworks: Isla Vista,” that is scheduled to begin in spring 2016.

“The Lightworks Project is basically another grant we got from the California Arts Council that is funding California artists to come [to IV] … both regional, local and statewide [artists],” Yasuda said. “It’ll be artist installations, illuminated works. We would love to set a tone for what’s possible all the time.”

Stakeholders are scrambling to come up with reasons to present to LAFCO that would justify activating all eight of the CSD’s powers. Several meeting attendees have said that having the powers simply activated is a win, and that the CSD could expand said powers in the future.

The LAFCO hearing is scheduled for Thurs., April 7.

“It’s the most important day in the history of Isla Vista,” Darcel Elliott, district director for the Office of Assemblymember Das Williams, said.

Hector is from Ensenada, Mexico, and is currently a sophomore majoring in English. After beginning as a staff writer his first year, Hector became Isla Vista Beat reporter. If he isn't reading a book or re-watching episodes of Breaking Bad, he's probably writing about Isla Vista.