Local resident honored for role in town incorporation

By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Longtime Loomis resident Bill Branch was recently honored by the Loomis Town Council as a kick-off to the celebration of the town’s 25th anniversary. According to the town’s Certificate of Recognition presented to Branch, in 1982 he volunteered to launch a publicity campaign that helped to convince unincorporated Loomis voters to use incorporation to “stop itself from being rapidly absorbed into the Rocklin city limits.” At the time, Branch was a television reporter covering the State Capitol. “He spent many months interviewing various governmental experts and consultants to find out how Loomis could survive economically and what sort of government could operate with minimal impact on the taxpayers, but maximum efficiency,” said Mayor Walt Scherer during the presentation. Scherer said Loomis was the first community in the Central Valley to use incorporation as an “anti-urbanization tool.” Scherer also recognized Branch for being the driving force in county issues such as discouraging the Placer County Treasurer from investing in the same type of “exotic financial derivatives” that sent Orange County into bankruptcy during the 1990s and that “are now devastating Wall Street.” “In response to Bill’s complaints, Placer County reduced its dependence on derivatives, which may have mitigated some of the most devastating impacts of today’s financial crisis,” Scherer said. The Certificate of Recognition noted that Branch advocated for the restriction of the use of “ditch water” to supply fresh drinking water to Placer County homes. He was also involved in efforts over the years to protect Loomis from developers wanting to “rewrite the Town Zoning ordinances” and transfer “density averaging across zoning lines.” Branch recently retired from state service where he served as Deputy Director for the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.