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RM.com's picture
Joined: 06/19/2007
Posts: 27726
Brainstorm: Murieta's form of government

Let's use this forum to brainstorm the idea of a new form of government for Murieta.

The starting point:

Some people say a different governing structure is necessary because of projected costs for maintaining both the Rancho Murieta Association and the Community Services District -- which turns into costs for community members. Some people see a new form of government as an opportunity to regain tax money paid by Murietans that doesn't come back to the community. There are other motivations too.

There's a nine-member committee studying our government structure now. It owes the CSD a report by the end of the year. Let's help their work.

Those committee members are invited to participate here -- sharing documents, thoughts, whatever -- and so are you. It's an opportunity for us all to learn and teach.

If you see a piece of news relevant to the topic, post a summary and link here. If you have a useful thought, post it here.

If this gets off the ground, we'll let it fly where it wants to go. Maybe it needs to be its own forum with multiple threads. We'll see.

Your thoughts are invited.

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RM.com's picture
Joined: 06/19/2007
Posts: 27726
Background on the subject

Here's some background on the subject, taken from RM.com coverage.

February 2008

It's time to consolidate Rancho Murieta's different governing bodies into one, speakers told the Community Services District board at Wednesday night's meeting.

"Maybe we have reached that period where you have one entity that is driving everything," resident Ted Hart told the directors.

Hart called the Country Club the community's anchor and said he was concerned about the financial challenges the club faces, as well as the confusing mesh of RMA and CSD codes that govern the community.

"Why are we even part of the county?" Ted Hart asked the CSD board.

Control was another issue for Hart. "I guess what triggered most of what I was looking at with this is when we got into all of the ‘hey rubes' down at the county," he said, apparently referring to county action on development plans last year.

Hart is a member of the Rancho Murieta Development Concerned Citizens Committee, which led community opposition to the proposals. "Some of us began looking at it and saying ... why are we even part of the county? Why are we not incorporated as a community, city, call it whatever you want," Hart said.

John Merchant, a past president of both the CSD and RMA, reprised remarks he'd made at Tuesday's RMA meeting about the financial benefits of consolidating the RMA and CSD budgets. He estimated a 20 to 25 percent savings would be realized to offset rising costs, and added that consolidation could address enforcement, peace officer status and other issues.

April 2008

The Community Services District board approved the formation of an ad hoc governance committee to assess current governance in the community, evaluate other options, and submit a final report by the end of the year.

The committee will have nine voting members -- a CSD director, seven members of the public and one development representative.

May 2008

Community Services District directors selected members for the nine-member CSD ad hoc governance advisory committee. The committee will look at how the community is now governed, evaluate alternatives, and prepare a report with its findings and recommendations.

The board selected Director Jerry Pasek to be the CSD representative and serve as the committee chair.

Each of the five directors nominated one person from a list of 12 community members who volunteered to serve on the committee.

Pasek nominated Wilbur Haines, Director Bob Kjome nominated Lisa Taylor, President Wayne Kuntz selected Ted Hart, Director Bobbi Belton chose Frank Simmons, and Director Dick Taylor picked John Merchant.

The board selected John Sullivan as the developer representative.

At its meeting on Tuesday, the Rancho Murieta Association board of directors selected Directors Paul Gumbinger and Dick Cox for the committee.

July 2008

Public money can’t be used to finance the private lifestyle Rancho Murieta enjoys, the Rancho Murieta Community Services District Ad Hoc Governance Committee was told at its meeting Wednesday.

The law doesn’t favor using taxpayer money for facilities that restrict public access, CSD legal counsel Steve Rudolph told the nine-member committee. It would be very difficult to create a situation where you had parks maintained with public money and yet were able to restrict the public’s use of the facilities, Rudolph said.

Keeping the community private has been the objective since development began here. The Rancho Murieta Association owns the gated community’s private streets, and legal agreements provide the homeowners association with ownership of the park sites inside the gates.

“My contention, whether we like it or not, is we need to build a governmental structure around the fact that we are starting out with a private community that has gates and private parks, and that most of the people that live here, live here because they enjoy those two services. And probably want to enjoy them for all time,” committee member John Merchant observed.

The issue came up during a discussion about incorporating as a city. The committee was formed to look at alternatives for managing the community and providing services to residents in a cost-effective way.


“The alternative to incorporation is for CSD to expand the scope of their services,” Wiens said.

Rudolph described community services districts as flexible organizations that can do many functions if LAFCO and the voters approve. The Rancho Murieta CSD was formed in 1982 and received voter approval to provide water, sewer, garbage collection and other services within the district boundaries. CSD took over the security function from RMA in 1984 at RMA’s request.

CSD can extend its powers by applying to LAFCO to exercise its latent power to provide a police force, Rudolph said. “You don’t take on the level of authority that a city would have. As a CSD, you can employ police officers but you cannot adopt laws that are essentially regulating the personal conduct of individuals, i.e. police power laws.”

Committee member Lisa Taylor said a police department formed by the CSD could enforce state and county laws, and Rudolph agreed.

He said another option would be to reduce the scope of CSD responsibilities by putting them in the private sector. Under this scenario, RMA responsibilities could be expanded to include security, Rudolph suggested.

The committee is also looking at consolidating services provided by different entities in order to reduce costs. Committee member John Sullivan recalled a time in the past when this was done.

“RMA gave birth to CSD … They had a common administration and it was split up because there was no way to accurately break out every dollar spent by CSD and that it wasn’t being contributed for private benefit,” Sullivan said. “And so the entities ended up dividing – administratively, operationally, and fiscally. Now, that happened 20-plus years ago.”

Full story: http://www.ranchomurieta.com/node/6118

Wilbur Haines's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 474
Thank you for this forum

Thanks, Karen, for setting up this "brainstorm" forum. It's a great idea. There's a broad pool of knowledge and talent in the community which could be of great value to the committee's effort. Richard's suggestion that a Joint Powers Agreement may be the cost-effective way to bolster Security's powers, for example, is a very useful idea which should be investigated. I have heard it suggested before but we haven't gotten that far as yet in the inquiry.

My own approach to this effort is that all conventional wisdoms regarding "the way we have always done it" or what any of the entities out here can and can't do should be revisited and critically examined, based on verified facts, which calls for a ground-up verification of what the facts and possibilities are, and a testing of all the assumptions inherent in conventional wisdom and local lore. It is quite foreseeable that in most cases such an inquiry verifies the conventional wisdom and validates the current way of doing many things. But you can't know that unless you fact check those assumptions, and I expect that in sifting through the possibilities we will find at least some ways of producing savings and increasing effectiveness of service to the community.

Every entity out here has relative advantages inherent in its nature, and we should be seeking ways to leverage those advantages. Because CSD taxes are deductible and HOA dues are not, a dollar of dues shifted to a tax costs you considerably less than a dollar after the income tax savings. But our HOAs are more flexible in many ways because because they are much less constrained by external regulation than is CSD and may in some instances have an advantage in total labor costs as compared to the PERS benefits of public employees. Consolidation or swapping of some functions may be found to produce substantial savings. Employee and/or equipment leasing and/or exchange of contract services between entities, common purchasing of fuel and other supplies, and other strategies may be ways of reducing duplication, achieving economies of scale, and/or keeping dollars within our own community instead of spending them on outside vendors. Anything is possible until facts, rather than assumptions and local lore, demonstrate it is not.

So yes, please, let's get those ideas flowing!


RM.com's picture
Joined: 06/19/2007
Posts: 27726
More on brainstorming -- and Richard Robinson's suggestion

Thanks for the support, Wilbur. Brainstorming does seem like a natural for this community, and there are many more topics we can brainstorm. Keep it in mind and feel free to suggest Brainstorm #2.

Wilbur's note refers to a posting by Richard Robinson, which was a comment on a related story. To keep all the relevant material in this one brainstorm, let's copy Richard's post below.


If I am reading this correctly, RMA is a private organization, and CSD is a governmental entity approved by the voters and the Sacramento County Board of supervisors. If this is the case why can"t the CSD form a Joint Powers Authority with the County for security services, thereby using the "police power' of the county for security. The existing security staff would be able to complete the POST training and qualify as well as the use of sheriff.. This idea if workable may cost a little more but it would resolve the security issue? -- Richard Robinson

Mike Burnett's picture
Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 183
Brainstorming - Richard Robinson's Suggestion - Security

The County has established CSA 11 for providing additional services in the unincorporated areas including Rancho Murieta.  The county provides sheriff services within this service area and collects taxes for those services.

Rancho Murieta Community Services District provides additional security services as an overlay to what the county provides in CSA 11.  RMCSD has already had all of their latent powers voted on in the 1982/1983 time frame and doesn't need to vote them in again.  RMCSD can collect fees to augment the existing services already provided without any additional approval other then collecting the costs from the residents within the CSD boundary.

The security issue is manageable under the current governance within the RMCSD.

The issues the committee should be focusing on concerning moving toward City-hood are:

1.   Spheres of Influence - As a City we have more control to protect our community from being gobbled up by Rancho Cordova, Elk Grove, or Folsom.

2.  Cost to move toward City-hood - bench mark against Elk Grove and similar communities.  We are facing build-out of a sizable piece of our community.  If we wait until after they are built out, those tax dollars will be added to the County price tag for ten years.  Creating the City sooner than later works to mitigate the duplicate tax costs for Rancho Murieta and the County.

3.  Private vs Public - I would suggest considering keeping the gates and require a fee to access the parks.  This would allow us to maintain our gates and placard the park users so the Security can readily see who they are.  We can charge a healthy fee for non residents to possibly dissuade them from using our facilities.

4.  Control - Establishing a City will allow our community to have more control over our destiny moving forward and provide a consistent level of service throughout. 

Doug Lewis's picture
Joined: 08/08/2007
Posts: 165

These are questions more than comments. 

What affect would incorporation have on development within the community? It was noted that tax dollars would go to RM instead of the county.  What are the pros and cons of this?  Would / could development be more easily denied or approved if we were our own city?  On one hand it seems that development could be promoted to increase revenue, or on the other hand those against development could install additional "city" regulations above and beyond county approval to prevent development?? 

What area of land would be incorporated?  Would zoning outside the gates change?  Would there be different ordinances for the area inside the gates? 

Would fire services need to be contracted from the county?

How would it be decided what is a CCR and what is an ordinance? Such as driveway restriction, landscaping, motorcycle riding etc.

And last but not least, would incorporating finally get our zip code to show up as Rancho Murieta instead of Sloughhouse????

Doug Lewis


Doug Lewis

Richard Robinson's picture
Joined: 08/10/2007
Posts: 108
Thank you Michael

Richard Robinson Michael thank you for the "security history and powers" information. that appears to answer my question. However as for "city-hood" I am not aware of a General Law City in California that is accessible only through a gate, and were the roads are not public? I think this is true of a Contract City as well? If I am correct then more then the parks would have to be open to the pubic if we are to become a city.

Thanks again for the education

Richard Robinson


Lisa Taylor's picture
Joined: 01/09/2008
Posts: 365


Regarding latent powers. You are right, LAFCO and the voters here originally approved a variety of services. However, *I think* if we were not using these powers at the time the bill was revised in 2005, then the power becomes latent. For example, to provide police protection, parks, recreation, all originally approved, now is probably a latent power. That is my current understanding.

I think your list is a good list and important topics of discussion. The fee for park use for the public is definitely an intriguing idea.



I think there are A LOT of questions that come with incorporation. To become a incorporated, there is a list of services that we must provide, and then other services that we can choose to provide or not provide. Included in that mandatory list is a planning department, so we would have more local control of growth. Certainly that is a big plus. We would also have the ability to control a number of other things. However, it's not clear that the money is there. There is a subgroup that is specifically looking at the finances of other small cities.



I spent some time looking at Joint Powers Authority. The agreements that I could find online showed that these are typically between entities which share the same function, and this is consistent with a comment made by the district lawyer. Since security would have to be law enforcement to enter into such an agreement with SSD, then we wouldn't need such an agreement! But it was a great idea -- we're tyring to look at any and all innovative thoughts out there.

Mike Burnett's picture
Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 183
RMCSD Latent Powers


Senate Bill 135 passed in 2005, didn't dismiss existing voter approvals, rather is added some additional steps before a CSD could enact their latent powers and clarified some of the latent powers.  The existing voter approval should still be valid.  The RMCSD simply needs to work thru LAFCO and mitigate any potential conflicts with other competing governmental agencies.


                                                                                                           BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    




                         Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair



          BILL NO:  SB 135                      HEARING:  4/20/05

          AUTHOR:  Kehoe                        FISCAL:  Yes

          VERSION:  3/29/05                     CONSULTANT:  Detwiler




                           Background and Existing Law  


          The Community Services District Law (Government Code 

          61000, et seq.) is the principal act that governs the 317 

          community services districts (CSDs).  Legislators 

          originally passed the CSD Law in 1951 and re-enacted it in 

          1955.  In the last 50 years, the Legislature has passed 

          scores of amendments to the CSD Law, resulting in a 

          convoluted statute that has more than 300 separate 



          The voters amended the California Constitution by passing 

          Propositions 13, 4, 218, and 1A.  Other voter initiatives 

          created the Political Reform Act and changed local 

          officials' fiscal powers.  The Legislature enacted and 

          expanded state laws on open meetings, public records, 

          fiscal audits, special districts' boundaries, land use 

          planning, and public finance.  The 1955 CSD Law reflects 

          few of these reforms.  Finding similar problems with other 

          districts' statutes, the Senate Local Government Committee 

          previously rewrote the principal acts that govern fire 

          protection districts (1987), recreation and park districts 

          (2001), mosquito abatement and vector control districts 

          (2002), and public cemetery districts (2003).


          In late 2004, the Senate Local Government Committee 

          convened a 19-member "Working Group on Revising the 

          Community Services District Law."  Helped by more than 20 

          expert advisors, the Working Group reviewed the current CSD 

          Law and recommended revisions.



                                   Proposed Law  


          Senate Bill 135 repeals the current statute and enacts a 

          new Community Services District Law.  The new principal act 

          differs from the current law in dozens of ways, but 

          particularly in policy, powers, procedures, and oversight.






           SB 135 -- 3/29/05 -- Page 2





          I.   Policy  .  The 1955 CSD Law does not contain any overt 

          statements of legislative intent or statewide policy to 

          guide the CSDs.  Senate Bill 135 opens with seven 

          legislative findings, recognizes four roles that CSDs play 

          in community governance, and recites three statements of 

          legislative intent (see the proposed 61001).

          Based on those policies, SB 135 strengthens CSDs' 


                 Voters can elect directors at-large, by divisions, 

               or from divisions (61021 & 61025).

                 Voters can convert dependent CSDs into independent 

               districts (61022 & 61027).

                All CSDs' boards of directors must have five 

               directors (61040 & 61041).

                 Directors set policy; general managers implement 

               policy (61040 & 61051).

                 Directors serve staggered, four-year terms 


                 Directors must follow formal procedures (61043, 

               61044 & 61045).

                 General managers have defined roles (61002 [f] & 



          II.   Powers  .  Responsible and effective local governments 

          need enough (but not too much) power to carry out their 

          statutory policies.  The Working Group spent days 

          scrutinizing the 1955 Law and recommending changes.  Senate 

          Bill 135 contains these specific differences:

                 Limits the purposes for paying stipends to 

               directors (61047).

                 Clarifies how CSDs can manage their own finances 


                 Consolidates the scattered sections authorizing 

               CSDs' basic corporate powers (61060).

                 Consolidates the scattered sections authorizing 32 

               public services and facilities (61100).

                 Preserves six special services for specific CSDs 


                 Clarifies how CSDs can activate their latent powers 

               (61002 [h] & 61106).

                 Requires CSDs to adopt annual budgets (61110+).

                 Requires CSDs to adopt annual appropriations limits 


                 Explains how CSDs may raise additional revenues 


                 Explains how CSDs may generate capital for public 

               works (61125+).

                 Increases the bid threshold for public works 

               contracts (Public Contract Code 20682+).






           SB 135 -- 3/29/05 -- Page 3


          Special districts are limited-purpose governments that have 

          only the powers that the Legislature has delegated to them. 

           State law lets districts provide public facilities and 

          services, but rarely gives them regulatory powers.  In 

          contrast, counties and cities are general-purpose local 

          governments with broad police powers that let them regulate 

          private behavior in the public interest.  For example, 

          counties and cities use zoning to regulate land use; 

          districts can't.  Senate Bill 135 authorizes CSDs to 

          exercise some specific regulatory powers and public 

          services that are similar to the powers and services 

          provided by the underlying counties and cities.  To avoid 

          conflicts, SB 135 requires CSDs to get other public 

          agencies' permission before they:

                 Provide police protection and law enforcement 

               (61100 [i]).

                 Improve public works that belong to another public 

               agency (61100 [l]).

                 Underground utilities that belong to another public 

               agency (61100 [m]).

                 Provide emergency medical services (61100 [n]).

                 Improve flood protection facilities that belong to 

               another public agency (61100 [r]).

                 Remove snow from roads that belong to another 

               public agency (61100 [x]).

                 Provide animal control services (61100 [y]).

                 Regulate streets that belong to another public 

               agency (61103).

                 Grant franchises over public works that belong to 

               another public agency (61104).


          III.   Procedures  .  Senate Bill 135 reduces the bulk of the 

          CSD Law from over 300 separate sections to 83 sections.  SB 

          135 uses a contemporary drafting format, clusters together 

          related topics for quicker reference, and renumbers the  

          entire CSD Law.  To improve effective administration and 

          political accountability, SB 135 relies on the practice of 

          "billboarding," providing statutory cross-references to 

          other existing laws that apply to CSDs as well as to other     

          local governments:

                 Lawsuits to challenge CSDs' validity, debts, and 

               decisions (61006).

                 Boundary changes under the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg 

               Act (61007).

                 Election procedures under the Uniform District 

               Election Law (61008).

                 Open meetings under the Ralph M. Brown Act 


                 Opportunities for initiative, referendum, and 

               recall elections (61046).

                 Using the Joint Exercise of Powers Act (61060).

                 Changing a CSD's name (61061).

                 Record retention and destruction (61061).

                 Local land use planning and zoning (61062).

                 Procurement of supplies and equipment (61063).

                 Employee relations under the Meyers-Milias-Brown 


           SB 135 -- 3/29/05 -- Page 4


               Act (61065).

                 Providing employee benefits (61066).

                 Providing public services and facilities just like 

               municipal water districts, sanitary districts, fire 

               protection districts, recreation & park districts, 

               mosquito abatement & vector control districts, library 

               district, airport districts, and pest abatement 

               districts (61100).

                 Annual appropriations limits under the Gann 

               Initiative (61113).

                 Annual allocation of property tax revenues 


                 Regular audits and annual financial reports 


                 Adopting special taxes with 2/3-voter approval 


                 Levying benefit assessments with property-owner 

               approval (61122 & 61129).

                 Standby charges under the Uniform Standby Charge 

               Procedures Act (61124).


          IV.   Oversight  .  Responsive government is accountable 

          government.  Senate Bill 135 promotes the CSDs' public 

          accountability and responsiveness by:

                 Distinguishing the roles of directors and general 

               managers (61040 & 61051).

                 Staggering directors' four-year terms (61042).

                 Clarifying the use of the initiative, referendum, 

                 and recall (61046).

                 Restating the requirement to retain and destroy 

               records (61061).

                 Requiring formal budgets and fiscal transparency 


                 Requiring regular audits and annual financial 

               reports (61118).


          V.   Other provisions  .  Besides enacting a new CSD Law, 

          Senate Bill 135 also makes conforming changes to these 

          other state laws:

                 LAFCOs cannot control districts' internal zones 

               (Government Code 56036).  SB 135 adds CSDs' zones to 

               this exemption in the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act (1 

               of the bill).

                 State law governs how CSDs purchase materials and 

               supplies for their construction projects (Public 

               Contract Code 20680+).  SB 135 clarifies these 

               procedures and raises the bidding threshold for 

               contracts to $25,000 (4-8).

                 SB 135 notes that the new statute is based on the 

               recommendations of the Working Group on Revising the 

               Community Services District Law, convened by the 

               Senate Local Government Committee (9).

                 SB 135 relies on the California Constitution to 

               avoid paying for the costs of enforcing new crimes 




           SB 135 -- 3/29/05 -- Page 5




          1.   Community needs, community services  .  As the 

          legislative findings in SB 135 explain, community services 

          districts play many roles as they deliver services to over 

          300 diverse communities.  In some places, the CSD is the 

          main government agency that provides local public  

          facilities and services.  In other places, CSDs result from 

          combining two or more overlapping special districts into a 

          single agency.  Some communities use CSDs as an alternative 

          to incorporating new cities.  Still other places use CSDs 

          as a transitional form of governance on their way to 

          cityhood.  SB 135 recasts the CSDs' statutes so that these 

          local public agencies can continue to deliver the services 

          to their constituents.  The bill accommodates those 

          different roles to meet the diversity of local conditions, 

          circumstances, and resources.


          2.   Extreme make-over  ?  Five decades after enactment, the 

          current CSD Law looks like many 50-year olds: a little 

          paunchy, out of shape, and starting to lose its way.  

          Scores of amendments created exceptions and sometimes 

          quirky provisions.  At more than 300 sections, the statute 

          is three times longer than most districts' principal acts.  

          SB 135 tones up the CSD Law, trimming its bulk to just 83 

          sparely drafted sections.  The bill adjusts and adapts 

          statutory provisions without making massive policy changes. 

           Once SB 135 takes effect, local officials will still 

          recognize the Law's personality, but they'll be pleased 

          with its new vigor.  For example, the proposed CSD Law 

          strengthens the CSDs' governance by sorting out the 

          respective roles of the elected directors and the appointed 

          general managers.


          3.   Peaceful coexistence  .  Because CSDs can provide public 

          facilities and deliver public services that are similar to 

          counties and cities, conflict and competition are possible. 

           SB 135 avoids those undesirable possibilities by requiring 

          CSDs to get other public agencies' permission before they 

          provide certain facilities and services: police protection, 

          public works, underground utilities, emergency medical 

          services, flood protection facilities, snow removal, animal 

          control, street regulations, and franchises.  The Working 

          Group was careful to avoid intergovernmental conflicts.


          4.   Latent powers  .  The current CSD Law allows the 

          districts to provide about 20 different public services and 

          allows specific CSDs to provide another dozen or so 

          services.  In reality, most CSDs deliver only one or two of 

          these authorized services; a handful offer a half-dozen 

          services.  Before delivering a new service, the 

          Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Act requires the CSD to get LAFCO's 

          approval and the current CSD Law usually requires local 

          voter approval.  The Working Group spent many hours talking 

          about how the new Law should treat CSDs that want to start 

          providing new services.  SB 135 calls these authorized but 

          unused services "latent powers."  A latent power is a 

           SB 135 -- 3/29/05 -- Page 6           


          statutorily authorized service that a CSD does not provide 

          as of January 1, 2006 (the bill's effective date).  For 

          example, state law allows any CSD to provide fire 

          protection services.  To avoid a conflict where a CSD might 

          try to start a fire department within the boundaries of an 

          existing fire protection district, SB 135 relies on LAFCOs 

          and the existing procedures in the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg 

          Act to control CSDs' latent power of fire service.  The 

          bill deletes the requirement for voter approval which the 

          Legislature created (1955) before it set up LAFCOs (1963, 

          1965) to regulate where special districts deliver their 

          services.  However, before a CSD can activate one of its 

          latent powers, it must adopt a referendable ordinance.  

          Dissenting constituents can easily force the question of 

          latent powers to the local ballot (61106).


          5.   The strange case of CC&Rs  .  Covenants, conditions, and 

          restrictions (CC&Rs) are private deed restrictions which 

          impose mutual contractual duties on property owners.  CC&Rs 

          are private arrangements, outside the government's land use 

          regulations that come from the police power.  Although 

          CC&Rs have the same purpose and often the same effect as 

          zoning ordinances, they are not government regulations; 

          they are private contracts.  Since 1979, legislators have 

          authorized 18 CSDs to enforce private CC&Rs.  Although a 

          1989 Legislative Counsel's opinion found that these 

          statutes were not unconstitutional, several members of the 

          Working Group were intensely skeptical of that legal 

          analysis.  Even if the current CSD Law is constitutional, 

          they and others questioned the wisdom of allowing special 

          districts to enforce private contractual duties.  The 

          Working Group learned that only 8 of the 18 CSDs actually 

          use the current Law to enforce CC&Rs.  After considerable 

          debate, the Working Group recommended allowing the 8 CSDs 

          to continue enforcing private CC&Rs, but repealing the 

          practice for everyone else (61105 [e]).


          6.   Electrifying, but not shocking  .  The current CSD Law 

          allows nearly all CSDs to start generating hydroelectric 

          power --- without local voter approval --- as part of their 

          water systems.  Just three small CSDs generate 

          hydroelectric power under this statute.  Other provisions 

          of the existing CSD Law allow a few CSDs to start 

          generating hydroelectric power --- most without local voter 

          approval --- as part of their water or sewer systems, if 

          they use the electricity for district purposes or sell the 

          electricity to a privately-owned public utility or another 

          public agency.  No CSD has ever used that provision.  Still 

          another provision of the existing CSD Law allows the El 

          Dorado Hills CSD to go into the retail electricity business 

          with majority-voter approval; it hasn't.  With LAFCO 

          approval and subject to a local referendum, SB 135 allows 

          any CSD to generate hydroelectric power as part of their 

          water or sewer systems, and to use the electricity for 

          district purposes or sell the electricity to a 

          privately-owned public utility or another public agency 

          (61100 [u]).  SB 135 allows a CSD to be in the retail 

                     SB 135 -- 3/29/05 -- Page 7


          electricity business only if the CSD consolidates with 

          another special district that was already providing retail 

          electricity (61102).  For example, if a public utility 

          district and a fire protection district serve the same 

          community and their constituents want to consolidate the 

          districts, the resulting CSD could provide both retail 

          electricity (which it inherited from the PUD) and fire 

          protection (which it inherited from the FPD).  SB 135 does 

          not give CSDs carte blanche to get into the retail 

          electricity business.


          7.   Responsive and responsible  .  Responsible government is 

          responsive government.  The proposed Law allows local 

          voters to elect their CSD directors at-large, by divisions, 

          or from divisions.  SB 135 requires CSDs to operate with 

          democratic transparency by adopting annual budgets, setting 

          up designated reserves, following the Brown Act, holding 

          regular meetings, and following standard auditing rules.  

          The proposed Law also respects constitutional limits by 

          requiring voter approval of special taxes and property 

          owners' approval of benefit assessments, as required by 

          Propositions 13, 62, and 218.


          8.   Crime and punishment  .  SB 135 allows CSDs to adopt 

          referendable ordinances that set up rules and regulations 

          for using their public facilities and services (61100 [a] 

          & [b]).  Violations can be misdemeanors or infractions 

          (61064).  By creating a new crime, SB 135 also creates a 

          new state-mandated program.  But the bill avoids 

          reimbursing CSDs for enforcing these new crimes (10).  

          That's consistent with the California Constitution which 

          says that the state does not have to reimburse local 

          governments for the costs of new crimes (Article XIIIB, 6 




                         Support and Opposition  (4/14/05)


           Support  :  Bear Valley CSD, Dublin San Ramon Services 

          District, Fairbanks Ranch CSD, Golden Hills CSD, Hidden 

          Valley Lake CSD, Kensington Police Protection & CSD, 

          McCloud CSD, Rancho Murieta CSD, Rancho Santa Fe, CSD, 

          Stallion Springs CSD, Whispering Palms CSD; California 

          Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions, 

          California Special Districts Association, California State 

          Association of Counties, League of California Cities, Napa 

          LAFCO, Madera LAFCO, San Bernardino LAFCO, and10 individual 



           Opposition  :  Unknown.








Lisa Taylor's picture
Joined: 01/09/2008
Posts: 365
RMCSD Latent Powers


I think we might be saying the same thing? By calling it a latent power, I just mean one that we are authorized to do it, but have to go through LAFCO first. I agree that we don't need to vote them in -- I wasn't very clear.


61002(h) "Latent power" means those services and facilities authorized by Part 3 (commencing with Section 61100) that the local agency formation commission has determined, pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 56425, that a district did not provide prior to January 1, 2006.

61106. (a) If a board of directors desires to exercise a latent power, the district shall first receive the approval of the local agency formation commission, pursuant to Article 1.5 (commencing with Section 56824.10) of Chapter 5 of Part 3 of Division 3. (b) After receiving the approval of the local agency formation commission, the board of directors may, by ordinance, order the exercise of that power.

61107. (a) If a board of directors desires to divest itself of a power that is authorized pursuant to this chapter and if the termination of that power would require another public agency to provide a new or higher level of services or facilities, the district shall first receive the approval of the local agency formation commission. To the extent feasible, the local agency formation commission shall proceed pursuant to Article 1.5 (commencing with Section 56824.10) of Chapter 5 of Part 3 of Division 3. After receiving the approval of the local agency formation commission, the board of directors may, by ordinance, divest itself of that power.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a) of Section 56824.14, the local agency formation commission shall not, after a public housing called and held for that purpose pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (c) of Section 56824.14, approve a district's proposal to exercise a
latent power if the local agency formation commission determines that another local agency already provides substantially similar services or facilities to the territory where the district proposes to exercise that latent power.
(c) If a board of directors desires to divest itself of a power that is authorized pursuant to this chapter and if the termination of that power would not require another public agency to provide a new or higher level of services or facilities, the board of directors may, by ordinance, divest itself of that power.


Mike Burnett's picture
Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 183
RMCSD Powers


It would be adviseable to investigate the section below concerning a CSD enforcing CC&R's.

"After considerable debate, the Working Group recommended allowing the 8 CSDs to continue enforcing private CC&Rs, but repealing the practice for everyone else (61105 [e])."

Was RMCSD one of the eight CSD's that was permitted to continue their enforcement of CC&R's?

Wilbur Haines's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 474
Yes, Mike

RMCSD is one of the eight CSDs listed in the Government Code as having formerly enforced CC&Rs prior to SB 135 and authorized to continue doing so. The intriguing question is what does "enforce" mean, does it go beyond writing tickets reporting violations to the HOA so the HOA can take action. Rumor has it that some of those other CSDs issue their own citations and fines. Investigation continues. Because this is addressed as a former power authorized to continue, I think it is not a "latent" power requiring LAFCO approval to pursue, as the latter are by definition potential powers not yet exercised.


From Govt. Code section 61105:

" (e) The Cameron Park Community Services District, the El Dorado
Hills Community Services District, the Golden Hills Community
Services District, the Mountain House Community Services District,
the Rancho Murieta Community Services District, the Salton Community
Services District, the Stallion Springs Community Services District,
and the Tenaja Meadows Community Services District, which enforced
covenants, conditions, and restrictions prior to January 1, 2006,
pursuant to the former Section 61601.7 and former Section 61601.10,
may continue to exercise the powers set forth in the former Section
61601.7 and the former Section 61601.10."


Lisa Taylor's picture
Joined: 01/09/2008
Posts: 365
CSDs and CC&Rs

Hey Mike,

That's okay, I'll answer to Linda too Wink

I've talked to each of the CSDs that enforce CC&Rs. In every instance (other than here), where the CSD enforces CC&Rs, they do everything from having a compliance officer (or GM do it or architural committee) that "belongs" to CSD, to collecting (and keeping) the fines. In every instance (other than here), where the CSD is involved in CC&rs, there is no comingling with the HOA, and CSD completely controls the process and the monies. Some CSDs enforce a handful of tracts, one CC&R said they have 70 different sets of CC&Rs that they are responsible for.

Here is an example:



There are districts where there is a mix, some tracts have the CSD enforce, while others have their HOA enforce. Where the HOA is active in CC&R enforcement, their CSD is strictly hands-off.


Lisa Taylor's picture
Joined: 01/09/2008
Posts: 365

Quoting Michael Burnett above:

The County has established CSA 11 for providing additional services
in the unincorporated areas including Rancho Murieta. ....


I was looking a bit into CSA-11, which is County Services Area 11. Currently, this service area has not been established. It was supposed to be an extra tax established for everyone in the unincorporated region of the county. This extra tax was supposed to bring extra law enforcement throughout the unincorporated area.

There is a rumor that, because we provide our own supplemental law enforcement, we were to be excluded by LafCo from this extra tax.


It looks like the idea of this extra tax to increase services might be instituted at some point in the future:


Personally, if we are to pay extra for law enforcement, I would want some assurances that those monies would be spent in our community, or hopefully, if we still provide the same level of protection that we used to (and we have not increased our calls for service to SSD), perhaps we can be omitted from this service area?

Mike Burnett's picture
Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 183
Look Again


You should look again.  County Service Area - 11 is all of the unincorporated areas within the county.  I never said that CSA-11 was for RMA only.  We are simply part of the whole pie.  We don't receive any more or less that the rest of the pie.

Lisa Taylor's picture
Joined: 01/09/2008
Posts: 365
Read Again?

Hi Mike,

In my first paragraph, I did mention that CSA-11 was supposed to include all of the unincorporated area.

However, I may not have been clear in exactly what my point was. If the sheriff's department sees a rise in calls from this area, then this is a tax that we, as a community, may have to end up paying.


Edit to add: I called LafCo to ask a quick question, which is where some of this relates. We didn't talk about RM too much, as we got off the subject and spoke mostly about the current acitivities of Elk Grove trying to expand its Sphere of Influence to include Wilton. It doesn't take much for a city to annex an unincorporated area, and the Wilton folks are trying real hard to be heard.

The topic of RM being annexed by someone came up, and it was estimated by the gentleman there that we might see this in about 15 years, and then he revised that and said about 20 years. He mentioned then that the alternative would be to expand from within instead of being annexed.

Before I started looking at this stuff, I figured that there was no way that we will ever become a city. After looking at the information, this is what I see.

I see that annexation is not something that far away. RM has an incredibly attractive tax base that I could see some city wanting. If we want to attempt to keep local dollars local (and have some control over growth in the region), this would be the only way to do it. If this might be feasible, it needs to be now-ish, while we don't have a lot of businesses, etc. out here, so that that "revenue neutrality" thing works to our benefit. The problem with other areas (Arden/Arcade, etc.) is that they didn't have future growth to help them.

A city doesn't have to have all the bells and whistles. What a city has to have is a police department, and essentially some planning departments. That's it, that would be a city-lite.

I have absolutely no idea if this would be feasible. However, realizing what is in the not-so-distant future, this is a perfect time to be really looking at this issue. Ironically, and I don't know if I believe this or not, but the way to preserve Rancho Murieta, might be to become a city-lite and have some control over our part of the county.

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