A new California Highway Patrol office opens this month and residents can expect to see more officers patrolling Highway 16. In other business at this month's Community Services District board meeting, there was an update on negotiations with developers for a financing agreement to provide more than $10 million in new infrastructure.
The CHP expansion will be the second increase in law enforcement presence in three months for Rancho Murieta. A realignment of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department service area last October resulted in more patrols and more use of the James L. Noller Safety Center.
“It’s our goal to reduce response times. … We want to make a bigger impression on Highway 16,” said CHP Lt. Greg Ferrero at the Community Services District board meeting Wednesday. Ferrero is the commander of the recently created Rancho Cordova Area, which covers eastern Sacramento County and extends into El Dorado County.
“With the budget the way it is, we’re blessed to finally have an office serving eastern Sacramento County,” Ferrero said. “We will be known as the Rancho Cordova office.”
The new office will start with 28 officers, CHP Lt. Greg Ferrero said.
The reorganization plan has been in the works for years, he told the CSD board. What helped to make it possible now was funding from the governor for “a few hundred additional positions,” he said.
Ferrero said every CHP division in the state received additional officer positions, and the Valley Division used its allotment to create the Rancho Cordova office. He said the office will have 28 officers when it opens Jan. 30, and more will be added in the coming months.
The reorganization allows other CHP offices to reduce their boundaries and keep the same number of officers “so it’s going to affect the whole area positively, with more officers on the road,” Ferrero said.
“We’re happy to see you on the highway,” said Security Chief Greg Remson.
President Bobbi Belton asked Ferrero to explain the limits of the CHP’s authority on the private streets of Rancho Murieta. “We have a very limited responsibility within your boundaries,” Ferrero said. “On private property, the majority of the Motor Vehicle Code does not apply. It’s just like a Safeway parking lot. So speeding laws, the seatbelt laws, the general moving violations, equipment violations do not apply on private property.”
On the other hand, “Laws like hit and run, DUI, they do apply,” he said.
Additionally, “if we view a violation on Highway 16 and we attempt to make a stop and they turn into the gate, we can – I don’t know if pursue is the right word – but we can follow in,” he said.
Ferrero acknowledged the potential for problems on Highway 16, a heavily traveled, two-lane road. Last year, two accidents occurred on the stretch of Highway 16 between the North and South entrances in a month’s time, causing serious injuries and one death.
This month’s security logs report a road-rage incident that began on the highway and continued through the North Gate, and the Jan. 19 log reports a traffic stop the Sheriff’s Department made at the Country Store for a vehicle clocked on radar at 112 mph. Construction of a new elementary school on the present site next to highway is scheduled to begin in June and continue through next year, adding to existing traffic problems at that location.
The Rancho Cordova CHP office is located at 11336 Trade Center Drive. The phone number is 464-2090.
Update on developer negotiations
General Manager Ed Crouse reported on progress in getting escrow accounts in place to resume negotiations with
developers for a Financing and Services Agreement.
“We’re hopeful that it can be completed within six months,” Crouse said of the agreement. “Since we have no (escrow) instructions and funding in the escrow accounts, we have not started negotiating.”
The Financing and Services Agreement would commit the developers to provide a $10 million expansion of the existing water treatment plant and a $3.5 million wastewater spray field in exchange for CSD water and sewer services for their projects.
Last month, the board voted to accept a developer proposal for resuming negotiations for the agreement. The proposal calls for setting up two developer-funded escrow accounts. One account would be used to reimburse CSD legal costs from earlier negotiations by putting $100,000 in escrow and releasing the funds to the CSD when the agreement receives conceptual approval. The developers agreed to cover any shortfall in funding within 30 days of the approval.
The second escrow account would cover ongoing CSD legal costs when negotiations resume. The developers propose placing $20,000 in the escrow account initially. The money would be released monthly to the CSD during negotiations, based on the district’s legal invoices. The developers would replenish the account to maintain a minimum balance of $5,000.
In making the motion to accept the proposal, Director Bob Kjome stipulated “if the developers unilaterally withdraw from negotiations without cause, the $100,000 would be payable immediately (to the CSD).”
Resident Don Sams was one of the people at the December meeting who objected to the last-minute proposal and lack of public notification about it. He has pursued the matter with CSD staff and board members at committee meetings and in correspondence.
At Wednesday’s meeting, he revisited his objections and said the board should return to the terms for reimbursement it agreed to demand from the developers last September.
At that time, the board wanted developers to reimburse the district for past legal expenses totaling more than $100,000 and provide an additional $100,000 for future costs before resuming negotiations.
The developers balked at reimbursing the CSD before the agreement was in place. During the discussion of the developers’ proposal last month, CSD legal counsel Steve Rudolph told the board, “There’s not a legal obligation in place right now for the developers to pay the $100,000.… Our only mechanism to collect these past legal fees is through negotiation.”
Crouse said at the September board meeting that the Pension Trust Fund for Operating Engineers put up a letter of credit to pay the CSD for costs related to the financing and services agreement. The PTF backed away from negotiations in 2004, and the money ran out. Negotiations continued until last April, when the CSD called them off, citing uncertainties about who was participating, and when the facilities would be built.
Board approves repair and replacement costs
The board approved expenditures related to the water and wastewater operations. They included roadwork at Clementia dam ($6,850), replacement of meters and valves at Granlees Dam ($20,525), the air compressor at the reclamation plant ($8,615) and a siphon valve ($7,111) that allows water to flow from Calero to Clementia.
The board approved the purchase of a used forklift to replace a non-working 1972 model at a cost of $9,998.
The board also approved a contract with Carlton Engineering to provide engineering services to produce quarterly and annual reports on groundwater monitoring at the wastewater treatment plant. The reports are required by the Regional Water Quality Control Board. The $16,500 cost is the same as last year.
General Manager Ed Crouse described water diversions from the Cosumnes River as “negligible so far this season” in his monthly report to the board.
Under the community’s water rights, the CSD is able to pump water from November through May when river flows are at 70 cubic feet per second or more. Water is stored in the community’s reservoirs, Lakes Calero, Chesbro and Clementia.
Director of Field Operations Paul Siebensohn wrote that the district began pumping on Dec. 24 and had to stop on Dec. 29 when flows dropped.
As of Dec. 31, the reservoirs were filled to 66 percent of capacity, according to Siebensohn’s report.
Since snowmelt increases river flows and allows sustained diversions, the fact that the snowpack is reported to be greater this year than last is a positive sign, he noted.
The district was able to fill the reservoirs to capacity last year.
The reports are available in the board's meeting packet.
Live-blog coverage of Wednesday's meeting is below: