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Security meeting

Consultant Brandon R. Kehl leads the discussion about security issues and the future.

About 60 people took part in Thursday’s Community Services District conversation on Rancho Murieta’s Security operation and how it should be structured in the future. One key consideration is how the community might buy and implement a system of security cameras to extend the reach of Security without the cost of human staffers.

The session, which lasted 90 minutes at the Country Club, started with 20 minutes of introduction by Brandon R. Kehl, a consultant and project manager with Burns & McDonnell, the Kansas City, Missouri, company that’s doing the study for the CSD.

CSD General Manager Darlene Thiel said digesting the study, expected to be delivered to the board in April, will be a process. Security is funded with a tax, she said at the meeting’s close, apparently to ease worry about runaway expenses, and increasing that tax would require a two-thirds vote of approval by the community.

While Kehl characterized Thiel’s approach as favoring complete transparency about the process, he said there will be information developed that can’t be shared publicly, since it involves the community’s security.

He said the CSD will post an online survey soon and invite community feedback there.

It wasn’t discussed at the meeting, but one of the drivers for the study is the impact of development and the fear that it could be felt soon. At a CSD meeting in December, the board discussed the opening of the new hotel and supermarket, both expected this year, as a big-city impact on the community. The board approved spending $49,350 on the study.

The audience offered 17 questions or comments. Some of them:

  • What is the timetable for implementation? Will the study include the new development?
    • Burns & McDonnell will make a board presentation in April, Kehl said. The study will incorporate “everything we’re aware of,” though development plans are only plans.
  • Couldn’t CSD and Security have done this without consultants?
    • Yes, some organizations are capable of doing this on their own, Kehl said, adding that he can’t say why CSD chose to go outside. Most often, he added, an outside operation has the benefit of offering an unbiased view.
  • Survey language must be chosen carefully, so it doesn’t ask leading questions.
  • Be sure to use paper for the survey too. What is the time frame for study recommendations?
    • Paper surveys will be distributed, Kehl said. As for implementation, most of the time, it’s a one- to five-year program, he said.
  • Mike Martel, a former CSD director who lost a re-election bid last November, said CSD was supposed to do an analysis of crime incidents in the community before conducting a study like this. Staffing and cameras are different considerations, he said, because the cameras could be covered by $1.2 million in security impact fees developers must pay. “If the purpose is just to get more staffing, or to pay more wages,” he said of the study, “then I think your survey is going to be a little flawed.”
    • Kehl said Burns & McDonnell is just learning about the funding possibilities and will address staffing and workflow projections but not salaries.
  • Why are we doing this study? I’ve never worried about security.

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