Richmond City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a $55,000 contract with Willdan Financial Services to prepare a service plan and fiscal analysis for the proposed annexation of unincorporated North Richmond.
The report will be completed next year, and Contra Costa County will pay 40-percent of its cost, according to Mayor Tom Butt, who called the study’s approval “a major step forward.”
The study is expected to reveal whether an annexation process would ultimately benefit both the city and residents of North Richmond. Butt, who has been pushing for annexation for two decades, renewed the effort after being elected as mayor in 2014.
Supporters of annexation say the approximately 3,700 people living in unincorporated North Richmond (2010 Census) would receive more efficient services from the city of Richmond, particularly when it comes to police response and public works, and would be able to vote in city elections.
Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia expressed support for studying the proposal.
“Generally, effective delivery of municipal services like police, public works and planning are better achieved when you don’t have isolated pockets of unincorporated areas,” he told us Wednesday. “North Richmond is completely surrounded by the City of Richmond, so it makes sense to study this issue. The study will look at financial and service delivery issues. Ultimately, it’s important for us to listen to the preferences of residents after they’ve seen the results of the study.”