Security officers who make a citizen's arrest in the course of doing their jobs are expected to get support from the Rancho Murieta Community Services District board in the form of a policy providing indemnification from civil actions. The matter will come to the board for a vote next month, the board decided at its meeting Wednesday.
"Give them that blessing," Director Bobbi Belton urged the board, returning to the topic repeatedly. She called for the vote next month.
"We can't tell them to make a citizen's arrest. They have to do that of their own volition," General Manager Ed Crouse said. Said Security Chief Greg Remson, "It also reaffirms your support of the department."
By the comments offered, it appears a majority of the board supports the action.
During the hour-long discussion, Director Bob Kjome suggested an additional approach that was based on the last year's CSD security survey. "The community doesn't want to pay for police powers and I think the most effective way we can put some teeth into our security force is ... more expanded use of the off-duty sheriff's (deputies)," he said. "It's a low-cost alternative to solve this issue, in my opinion."
Off-duty deputies have full law enforcement powers.
Remson said increased the use of deputies on patrol would act as a deterrent to crime and the deputies could detain individuals for suspected crimes, which security officers can not do. Plus, if something happened, "we're not waiting for them to show up," he said. "And, if RMA would ever open up the streets to traffic enforcement, that's a whole new game" because motorists could be stopped for traffic violations.
Resident Lisa Taylor questioned whether the CSD would be providing police protection by bringing in more deputies.
"We're not saying that we're providing police services ... or forming a police department. We're bringing in sheriff's presence. There's a big difference," Crouse responded.
The jumping-off point for the discussion was a six-page memo CSD counsel Steven Rudolph prepared at the board's request. The memo is in the packet for the board meeting (10MB PDF).
It includes long-term and short-term options for security services. Rudolph analyzed the services provided by the CSD and concluded the district doesn't have the power to enact ordinances that regulate conduct. He made a presentation of his findings at a community meeting in May.
On Wednesday, Rudolph said although the analysis showed there was "an absence of police power and these ordinances probably shouldn't be on your books, before that occurred, it's not as if there was an extensive amount of citations being issued by Security as it relates to the enforcement of these ordinances. In fact, there was almost none. ... I understand that there may be a political perception problem or a sense of vulnerability created in the community by the elimination of these ordinances from our books."
Probably "very, very little" has actually changed, Rudolph said.
Since the May presentation, the Rancho Murieta Association has begun the process of developing non-architectural rules for curfew, vandalism and skateboarding to bridge the gap since the CSD is able to enforce CC&Rs.
Rudolph suggested identifying items of importance to community and seeing how much is covered by CC&Rs.
"There is a very effective enforcement mechanism through their process," he said. "That's better than anything you're going to get through the district attorney's office. ... The reality is, if that's not effective and you can't achieve it through RMA, then one of the things you might have to look at is how we can come up with an administrative enforcement program through the CSD."
"What I perceive is the problem is we're trying to solve law enforcement issues with non-arch rules," said Lisa Taylor. "... If you want them to catch, if you want them to detain, if you want them to follow up, then that's law enforcement. ... You're setting Security up by asking them to enforce non-arch rules they have no power to enforce." Taylor is the wife of Security Sgt. Jim Bieg.
Taylor and some of the directors pointed out that the homeowner rules wouldn't apply outside the gated community. Options were suggested for addressing that by forming an association similar to RMA to adopt the same rules or by leaving merchants to call the Sheriff's Department for crimes like shoplifting.
"I would like you to think about the district as a whole," Taylor said. "... The only hope right now we have of some consistency is for CSD to take that leadership role and think of the district as a whole, not just being run by RMA."
Board approves South bond levy
The board approved the annual levy for Community Facilities District No. 1, the bond district formed to finance infrastructure for development on the South. Property owners on the South pay the levy as part of their property taxes.
"We're levying it at 67 percent of the maximum tax rate," said consultant Tim Suefert of NBS in his report to the board. If the maximum for a parcel is $1,000, "we're only levying it at roughly $670, at this point," he said.
The bonds will be paid off in 2015.
Referring to the statewide property tax delinquency problem, Suefert said, "You're certainly a little bit of that. The percentage that was delinquent from this last year was about 18.8 percent. ... The good news is that less than 7 percent of the parcels within the district are delinquent. In other words, there a few large-dollar amount parcels that are shooting that percentage of dollars up. ... The value to lien - how much is the property worth out there versus the amount of the bonds against it -- is very strong, it's like 47 to 1."
General Manager Ed Crouse said the district is in discussions with developer Reynen & Bardis and the owner of the Riverview parcel "about getting those levies current," but it is also preparing for foreclosure proceedings should they become necessary.
New Director of Administration Darlene Gillum was welcomed by the board at Wednesday's meeting and named district finance officer. Gillum joined the district last month, replacing Les Tyler, who resigned earlier in the year.
- As it does every year, the board voted to place delinquent accounts on the tax rolls of Sacramento County for collection. Under the Teeter Plan, the county pays the district for the delinquencies and collects them along with a 10 percent penalty on the property tax bill for the parcels that are delinquent. In the board packet, the amount of the delinquencies is listed as over $30,000.
- The board approved a proposal from HydroScience Engineers to resubmit reports and documentation to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board to extent the temporary irrigation project on the VanVleck ranch from 2010 to 2012 at a cost not to exceed $9,500. The project assures an outlet for excess recycled wastewater if needed. The irrigation project was done on an emergency basis last year as part of the effort to reduce carryover storage at the wastewater treatment plant.
- Long-term ergonomic injury claims play a role in the district's sharply increased workers' compensation rates, the board was told during a presentation about the coverage provided by the Special District Risk Management Authority. Jim Towns, SDRMA chief executive officer, said the not-for-profit public agency provides property and liability, workers' compensation, and health benefits programs for special districts and other public agencies. Towns said the agency takes a "proactive" approach and was working with CSD staff to reduce losses. SDRMA costs for coverage are consistently 15 percent below average market rates, he said.