After several years away, the Joint Security Committee was back in business last week at the CSD Building.
Rancho Murieta’s on-again, off-again Joint Security Committee was on again last week, drawing eight committee participants and twice that many spectators to the Community Services District Building for the first meeting of its latest incarnation.
“The purpose of this committee, as CSD has described it in its own code, is to bring together all the stakeholders in the community,” Mark Martin, the CSD’s general manager, said early in Thursday night’s meeting. Without coming to any resolution, the committee discussed how to deal with data already in hand, how to divide up work, how to prioritize tasks, and how to approach and fund them.
“We’re starting over, in effect,” Les Clark, CSD board president, said at one point about the emerging process.
Around a table were representatives of the CSD, Rancho Murieta Association, Security, the Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services and the Sheriff’s Department. In the audience were representatives of the Village and the Airport, who were invited to sit at the committee table but didn’t. The Country Club was holding its monthly board meeting at the same hour and couldn’t attend the session, which lasted a little more than two hours.
The CSD, which oversees Security, has a responsibility footprint larger than the RMA’s. The RMA is the homeowners association for most of the homes behind the North and South gates. The CSD is a governmental agency, handling security, water, wastewater and solid-waste collection behind the gates as well as south of Jackson Road – including the Murieta Equestrian Center, the Village, Murieta Plaza, Rancho Murieta Airport and the commercial center under development.
Martin suggested the committee, which is decades old but last met several years ago, meet quarterly going forward – a frequency that suits the RMA too – and asked that the committee try to operate at a high level instead of getting into the weeds on issues, which has been the committee’s undoing in the past. Tensions between the RMA and CSD have scuttled past versions of the committee too.
The next meeting date was not set.
Following up on Security town hall meeting
Security Chief Jeff Werblun followed up on last October’s Security town hall meeting, in which community members were invited to share thoughts on different topics at conversation stations around the meeting room. Among the topics covered: community evacuation plans, Escuela gate, traffic enforcement and front gate procedures.
You can download a list of those comments here. Werblun said the CSD and RMA organized the list by assigning responsibility for each task.
Clark, the CSD board president, said prioritizing the list is necessary to reflect budget realities.
From the audience, Mark Pecotich, the prior CSD president, asked how the committee will use the findings of a CSD Security survey done two years ago and released last April. The study, which has been criticized by some as a waste of $50,000, found that the vast majority of Murietans feel safe in the community and there is general reluctance to spend more on Security. Pecotich said he wanted to make sure the study’s findings aren't just ignored.
Clark suggested that the committee focus on reviewing the responsibilities matrix and the 2017 Security study, responding within 60 days, which will allow the committee to prioritize the list’s items and plan how to address the highest priorities. The process for community response will be announced soon, the committee said.
County speaks on emergency response
Roger Ince, coordinator of the county Office of Emergency Services, said the county is happy to cooperate with local volunteers who are working with the RMA and CSD to draw up an emergency evacuation plan for the community.
He encouraged Murietans to sign up with the county’s alert notifications at https://www.sacramento-alert.org. Alerts from that number will appear as 99999 on your phone, he said.
Ince suggested everyone prepare emergency supplies – clothes, medications, pet supplies, etc. – and have them ready to go. His key piece of disaster advice, in case of evacuation orders: “Leave when we tell you to leave.”
He had brochures from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which you can download here:
Ince said PG&E’s recent problems with wildfires could mean more frequent interruptions in its electricity service. When the audience said Murietans have SMUD service, Ince said SMUD service will be interrupted if PG&E service goes down. (Contacted later, a SMUD spokesman said this isn’t true, that SMUD has its own power generation and transmission and would only lose power if weather or a wildfire impacted SMUD facilities.)
Also at the meeting was Lt. Greg Coauette, the Sheriff’s Department’s Central Division operations commander, who has been a Murietan since 1995. He said he was pleased to see the community advancing on an emergency plan and pledged his department’s support.
Security funding sources
Mark Martin, the CSD’s general manager, outlined how Security is funded:
- There is a monthly tax – $29 a month inside the gates, $7 a month for the Village, and varying rates for commercial property owners. “That’s where the major portion of our operating fees are,” Martin said. Increases are limited to 2 percent a year, which doesn’t even keep up with cost increases, he said.
- New development pays one-time security impact fees ($750 for each new home outside the gates and $1,200 for each home behind the gates) and security infrastructure fees ($67 per new home). The impact fees allow CSD more latitude in how the money is spent, Martin said.
Given the limited funding, CSD President Les Clark said, “Prioritization is the most important thing. We can’t have everything.”
In other business...
- Security Chief Jeff Werblun spoke of a new technology answer to holiday backups at the North Gate, much the same as his comments at the February Security Committee meeting.
- Werblun said the Sheriff’s Department will offer a Neighborhood Watch meeting 7 p.m. April 2 at the RMA Building, and a Coffee With a Cop event will be held 6 p.m. March 18 at the CSD Building.