Municipal and Special District Law
Meyers Nave has practiced public law in California for more than three decades, combining in one firm many disciplines that other firms consider specialties. Our institutional knowledge of the law and California community policies is unequaled. We provide day-to-day legal advice and representation in complex transactions and litigation. Meyers Nave serves as city attorney to municipalities of all sizes and as general counsel to counties and special districts of all types. Many of these relationships have spanned decades—a fact which testifies to the quality of our work and our commitment to clients.
- Code Enforcement – Many of our clients routinely achieve compliance rates in excess of 80 percent without the need to initiate litigation. We promote voluntary compliance using a host of administrative processes and, when necessary, formal civil and criminal enforcement actions. We have successfully prosecuted hundreds of cases and have recovered enforcement costs and expenses on behalf of many clients.
- Conflicts of Interest – Issues relating to conflicts of interest are among the matters that must be dealt with on a day-to-day basis. We regularly provide advice to cities and other public agencies on conflicts under the Political Reform Act, Government Code section 1090, and other conflicts of interest laws.
- Contracts and Franchises – We draft and negotiate franchise agreements, development agreements, leases, professional services agreements, public works contracts and more. Our focus is on creating contracts and agreements that support our clients’ goals, protect their interests and minimize risk.
- Elections and Voting – The actions of public agencies and public officials are closely scrutinized by the public, especially during voting season. We advise on regulatory compliance and offer workshops to help public officials adapt to new or changed responsibilities after an election. We also analyze initiatives and referenda and represent our clients in writ of mandate proceedings, validation actions and quo warranto proceedings.
- Fees and Assessments – As public law attorneys, we are often faced with issues relating to methods of validly imposing fees and assessments. We stay abreast of developments in case law and initiatives, whether on Propositions 218 and 26, Mello-Roos or other areas. We work to structure fees in a creative, legally defensible manner.
- Joint Powers Authority – Due to our representation of several regional and statewide joint powers agencies, we have prepared numerous joint powers agreements and created several joint powers agencies. We are familiar with the options available to cities and other public entities in forming and working with JPAs.
- LAFCo and Changes of Organization – We have represented cities and special districts before Local Agency Formation Commissions (LAFCo) throughout California, advising on mergers, annexations, revenue sharing, dependent districts and related matters.
- Ordinances and Resolutions – We have reviewed and written ordinances pertaining to everything from land use and zoning to code enforcement and the establishment of municipal programs. We have prepared creative and innovative ordinances on hot topics such as marijuana and green building construction.
- Public Records – The California Public Records Act is the public’s primary tool for accessing information to monitor the functioning of government agencies. Meyers Nave helps public agencies understand the law’s requirements, exemptions and penalties; establish plans and protocols for efficient and cost-effective compliance; and develop strong defenses in the event of a courtroom challenge. We have handled thousands of Public Records Act requests on behalf of cities, counties, special districts, school districts, successor agencies, municipal corporations, transit districts, commissions, boards, committees, nonprofit entities and joint powers authorities.
- Ralph M. Brown Act – We advise clients regarding issues relating to open meetings, often being called upon after hours and “on the fly” to provide immediate and urgent Brown Act direction. We have advised on complex questions, have successfully litigated several cases involving the Brown Act, and provided training for local officials and city staff.
- Revenue and Taxation – We help clients determine the taxes they can impose and impose those taxes lawfully. This can mean counseling throughout the process or advising on a particular legal consideration. We also defend clients in court from challenges to taxes and revenue sources.
- Special District Operation – We have advised numerous special districts throughout California on operational issues such as labor and employment matters, contracting, compliance, and public finance. We also help our clients form special districts, advising on organization issues such as annexations and detachments, and the acquisition and disposition of public property.