A Murrieta city council member recently suggested what could be considered a bold move.
Councilman Randon Lane asked his fellow council members to discuss splitting from the League of California Cities.
Murrieta is charged $25,000 annually for its membership with the League. Member cities reportedly benefit from legislative and legal advocacy, among other perks, according to Cacities.org.
After just returning from a League conference, Lane during a public meeting June 19 said he has "been somewhat disappointed with some of the decisions that have been made."
The League has a Sacramento staff and its member cities in support or opposition of pending legislation.
"They are trying to push for a stronger role in how they control what we are doing in our cities," Lane said.
"I believe it would be in our city’s best interest to have a discussion about our city’s participation in the League. I think the direction the League takes us in is somewhat concerning."
Lane, who sits on the League's Revenue and Taxation Policy Committee and serves on the League's Board of Directors, cited its recent stance on Senate Bill 186 as an example.
SB 186 would give the State Controller authority "to perform an audit or investigation of any county, city, special district, or joint powers authority, if the Controller has made findings that the local agency is not complying with the financial requirements in state law, state grant agreements, local charters, or local ordinances..."
The bill also states local agencies are responsible for the cost of the audit, but that the fees may be waived if the investigation comes up clean. A payment plan would be set up for any costs that could not be waived.
Lane said he was one of two who voted in opposition of the bill, while the majority voted to "oppose unless amended."
"This bill gives the Controller more authority to, on their own regard, come in and start auditing a city. The worst part about that is if they choose to do that, the city has to pay the bill."
Lane said he was philosophically opposed—and believed many others in attendance were—to the state having any more of a hand in what cities are doing.
"A comment was made that 'this bill is going to pass so we might as well get what we can and move forward.'"
Lane requested a city subcommittee discussion with Mayor Doug McAlllister, who currently serves as president of League of California Cities' Riverside County Division. Twenty-eight Riverside County cities—from neighboring Temecula to Banning to Palm Desert to Wildomar—belong to the League.
"I would ask that we have a discussion about our role and whether we participate, and past that I would like to bring it back to the full council," Lane said.
There could be another option for Murrieta should Lane's colleagues agree.
Councilman Alan Long said he was in on a recent conference call with the Association of California Cities, which he said was "much different" than the League of California Cities.
"I have been in contact with them as an alternative to the League for quite some time, so I am anxious to continue those meetings to see how that can benefit our city, our region and our state," Long said.