Watch video of the RMA meeting
[News brief published May 17] The Rancho Murieta Association board addressed two big-dollar items at Tuesday night’s meeting, extending $200,000 to Greenfield Communications to help complete the buildout of the community’s fiber system but saying no to a county proposal to contribute $220,000 to the construction of a turn lane at Stonehouse Road and the Escuela gate.
Board helps fund fiber effort
The board said it is amending its contract with Greenfield Communications to build the community’s fiber network, pre-paying Greenfield $100,000 for the head-end communications center, a purchase that wasn’t supposed to be possible until the 20-year contract ended or was terminated. The original contract called for RMA to pay $200,000 for the equipment, which is valued at $700,000, the RMA said.
Also, the RMA will loan Greenfield $100,000 at 4 percent interest, payable in five years.
“Although the board feels the fiber overbuild could have been handled more efficiently and effectively and better planned,” RMA President Jim Moore read in a statement, “the board also realizes that the true condition of the underground plant could not have been known until construction occurred.”
Since starting work in late 2014, Greenfield has pointed to the patchy condition of the existing cable network, which is the pathway for the fiber network. RMA officials have said they didn’t apprise Greenfield of the system’s condition because they didn’t know it themselves.
The RMA statement said the $200,000 will be paid directly to Greenfield vendors to make sure the funds are going into Rancho Murieta infrastructure.
The board also extended Greenfield’s contract from 20 years to 40, to give Greenfield additional time to recoup its construction costs, which RMA said are at $2.6 million, with another $600,000 needed to finish the job.
After the meeting, Moore was asked if Greenfield is strapped for cash.
“They’re having some difficulties,” he said. “(Greenfield) has investors, and the cost overruns were causing them to really slow down the progress, and we want to get this done. So, we agreed to work with them to do what we could without just handing them free money. ... Now, we think, two, two and a half months, they should be done.”
Reached Wednesday morning, Greenfield CEO Mike Powers said the company had nothing to add to Moore’s statement.
Board won’t fund Stonehouse turn lane
Adding a left-turn lane to Sacramento County's plan to improve Stonehouse Road would increase the cost to $1.2 million, creating a $420,000 shortfall, General Manager Greg Vorster reported.
RM North developers offered to contribute $200,000 to turn-lane work, Vorster said, leaving the project short by $220,000. He said an RMA contribution of that amount would be reimbursed by the county from building permits as they’re pulled over the coming years of development.
The county feels a turn lane isn’t a safety requirement to allow the community to use the Escuela gate, Vorster said.
President Jim Moore said he was troubled by the county request. He called the $220,000 “a lot of money,” loaned interest-free, without a definite payback period. “The county currently owes us $173,000 for construction of the river crossing – the wooden bridge,” Moore said. “They’ve owed us that money for over 10 years, and we still don’t have a definite payback period.”
Other directors agreed.
“The old saying ‘I’d rather owe you forever than beat you out of it’ seems to come to mind when you’re dealing with the county,” said Director Sam Somers Sr. “I mean, they have their own money issues. It also seems like this is a ‘want’ as opposed to a ‘need,’ and the county has said that’s a perfectly safe ingress and egress for Escuela gate without the left-turn lane.”
The alternative is a three-way stop.
In response to a question, Director Martin Pohll said the costs would probably escalate by 25 percent if the project were delayed 10 years.
In other business...
General Manager Greg Vorster said the replanting of the Stonehouse Park soccer field has started. The field is expected to reopen by August, he said.
Construction of the “goose-feeding” experiment at Bass Lake has started, Vorster said. The idea is to create a grassy area and hope to lure the Canada geese to feed at Bass Lake instead of at Lake Clementia.
The board engaged in a lengthy discussion about speeding and running of stops signs. There were no conclusions. Director Tim Maybee said he would return to the board in the next month with plans to deploy the speeding-alert trailers and video cameras to address the problem.
The board voted unanimously to spend $1,800 for bottom-feeding fish to help address the midge-fly problems at Laguna Joaquin.