Please read the 2014 Grand Jury Report on the Harbor District
(click button to read report)
The San Mateo County civil grand jury issued a scathing report calling for the dissolution of the county harbor district, citing problems with the district's finances and an overall pattern of dysfunction.
"It is abundantly clear," the grand jury wrote, "that the citizens of the county would be best served, both financially and in terms of better service, if the district were dissolved and its operations assumed by the county and other successor agencies."
The report zeroes in on the budgeting practices of the independent district, which owns and operates Pillar Point Harbor near Half Moon Bay and manages Oyster Point Marina in South San Francisco. The grand jury claims the district relies too heavily on property tax revenue it collects from the county to cover operating losses that over the past five have totaled roughly $18.3 million.
The grand jury recommends that the district undertake various reforms to improve its performance if dissolution is not feasible, including quarterly financial reports and a budgeting plan that reduces the district's reliance on property taxes for operating expenses.
Aaron Kinney, July 9, 2014
Supervisor Don Horsley said he had reviewed the grand jury report, and the criticism for lack of financial transparency rang true. He said he reached a similar conclusion when he pored over the district’s audited budgets. But instead of dissolving the district, it could be simpler to fix those irregularities, Horsley said.“I’m not sure that having the county take it over would be best,” he said. “We do have an election coming up; maybe there will be improved governance over there.”
Mark Noack, July 17, 2014
The district has a checkered history and has faced prior civil grand jury investigations and recommendations it be dissolved, said Dave Pine, president of the Board of Supervisors.
“The fastest or quickest way to bring about change would be to elect new harbor commissioners in the November elections and obviously that means not supporting the incumbents,” Sabrina Brennan said.
Samantha Weigel, July 10, 2014