Last week’s meeting of the Ad Hoc Security Committee was meant to wrap up the group’s work, but within 10 minutes it was clear the Community Services District and the development representative disagreed about a key point – whether the new developments are guaranteed a certain amount of surveillance-camera coverage in exchange for per-lot fees the developers will pay.
Development manager John Sullivan said the developers are supposed to see 50 percent of their fees come back as equipment serving the newly developed areas. He said the amount is specified in the financing and services agreement the CSD reached with developers last year.
“In the FSA (financing and services agreement), it basically says that the district would adopt the policy that basically says at least, or proportionally, half of the money is going to protect that property whereby the impact fees come from,” Sullivan said. “And the other half would be for, you know, whatever the district needs for monitoring and other things.”
CSD Director Mike Martel, chair of the committee, disagreed. “We need to develop a strategy different than what we’re doing then,” he said, adding his understanding is that the FSA gives the developers the right to “talk, and you give input, and you have a say in the policy.”
“Hell, no,” Sullivan said. “The policy is very specific.”
Sullivan said the impact fee – $1,200 per lot for residential, $750 per lot in the commercial area – will eventually yield $2 million.
Later in the meeting, they returned to the topic more forcefully.
The committee has representatives from the RMA, CSD, Country Club and development community.
“The primary purpose (of the system) is to protect the people and the property that those impact fees are associated with,” Sullivan said, adding, “You guys signed the agreement, with all those details in the agreement.”
Martel said the CSD board never heard things explained that way.
“We should not charge you the $1,200 then,” Martel said. “We should get out of this camera business ... because we’re not going to enhance the existing properties. So in my opinion, this has taken a whole new twist. ... I never would have been involved in this.”
At prior public meetings, Sullivan has argued for a greater share of the CSD's surveillance-system spending, but he hasn't mentioned a 50 percent figure.
Over the weekend, CSD General Manager Darlene Gillum, who negotiated the agreement for the CSD, sided with Martel.
She wrote in an email, “No, there isn’t any language in the FSA that specifies 50 percent of the security impact fee will go to the service of the new development.”
The Ad Hoc Security Committee held its first public meeting in April 2014. A month later, it had a list of more than 100 proposed camera locations, a list that wasn’t shared with the community at the time but was released by the CSD.
After that, the committee went dark. Martel reported at the August 2014 board meeting that the committee was “on hold,” awaiting the results of a supposed $5 million federal grant application that came to nothing.
In December, Martel acknowledged the committee met twice in October without public notice and brought in companies and invited them to bid on the camera system before he was told by CSD’s lawyer that a government agency has to award bids in a public process.
Soon after, Martel announced the ad-hoc committee had served its purpose and was being disbanded.
Martel opened Thursday’s meeting by saying he wanted to share the final documents with everyone. He said Remson will develop a policy for camera installation and use and share it at the CSD board’s Sept. 16 meeting. It should go to the board for final approval in October, Martel said.
Sullivan pointed out the committee hasn’t yet decided how to fund equipment replacement. The development-impact fees are a one-time charge, so there won’t be money to replace cameras in, say, five or 10 years.
Said Remson: “If it gets to 50 cameras, if it gets to a hundred cameras ... that potentially could be a pretty good chunk of change, operation and maintenance-wise. ... And we’re not reserving for that. It’s not in our operating expenses.”
Sullivan referred to the first phase of his plans. He has already installed conduit to handle 17 cameras outside the new hotel and 20 or so inside, with the inside cameras under the hotel’s control. He said he expects the outside cameras to be managed by CSD.
The group also discussed using Greenfield Communications’ fiber network to serve the camera system. Greenfield hasn’t been brought into the conversation yet.
Rancho Murieta Association Director Randy Jenco, representing that group, said the RMA is willing to follow the CSD’s lead on a camera system.
“I don’t think we want or intend to be pulling this train,” he said. He added, “We’re going to go back and ... there’s no doubt in my mind that we’re going to come back to you and say, ‘Whatever you want,’ because it helps the community.”
Martel said the system should be run by CSD, with policies set by CSD and equipment purchased by CSD. He has expressed worry about RMA’s recent $50,000 commitment to camera equipment and the possible problems bringing other cameras into a central system.
“There can’t be two masters of any system,” he said.
The committee also discussed an amended gate policy, including questions about who should be allowed to have bar codes, including whether Village residents and non-resident Country Club members should get the stickers.