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La Mirada and Whitter Municipal Services Review Unanimously Approved and What to do with a Joint Sphere of Influence

There’s nothing in state law that prevents multiple agencies sharing a sphere of influence.  But one of the primary goals of LA LAFCO was to address whether the city of La Mirada or Whitter should have the 0.86 square mile neighborhood known as both “East La Mirada” and “East Whittier” in the ultimate boundaries of either city.  As confusing as the dual names of the community, the analysis was anything but clear-cut.

Last week following a public hearing on the RSG-prepared Municipal Services Review for the two cities, LA LAFCO approved the MSR with the recommendation that East La Mirada be in fact in the sphere of influence of La Mirada and remove it from Whittier.  RSG weighed several factors in making this recommendation, and ultimately both the Executive Officer Paul Novak and the Commission concurred with RSG’s recommendation. 

The MSR also evaluated municipal services provided by the two adjacent, but very different cities.  Whittier is larger, older, and a full-service city, while La Mirada is smaller and uses more contract services.  Both southeast Los Angeles County communities experienced modest growth in recent years and may expect to see significant new development if SCAG adopts the proposed 6th Round so-called fair share allocations.  This new growth may have significant impacts on the cities’ infrastructure and services, as analyzed in the MSR.  Both cities were very cooperative in the development of the MSR and have navigated the COVID-19-induced fiscal challenges well while continuing to fund long term retirement obligations.

A copy of the MSR is on the LA LAFCO website, which was the second MSR we prepared for LA LAFCO in the past 9 months.