Below is one portion of the Community Services District's "Candidates Night" meeting Thursday. Here are links to the other sections:
- Candidate introductions
- Question: What is the role of a CSD director and how much time are you willing to give?
- Question: How do you handle squeaky wheels?
- Question: Your top three issues?
- Audience questions
- Candidate closing statements
Bob Kjome: We're good to move on to candidate question number three. This one is, "What do you see as the top three issues facing the district?" I know a lot of you guys have mentioned them in your intro. Please go ahead and reiterate what you think are the top three issues facing the district during this election period. We will go back and start with Ron this time.
Ron Amarante: Well, issues like ... the top three issues anyway would be the quality of the water, the quantity of it, and the development that's going to be here eventually and if we're going to have enough of that quality and quantity for to be able to serve. And also the security part of it, the traffic. It's going to ... which is bad enough already, as it is. I think it's going to get worse. A lot of people are speeding, running stop signs, and driving recklessly. We need to put a stop to it or do something about it because once the development comes here, they're going to see the bad habits of what we're already having here and it's going to get worse. For the third one, as far as the development of the lakes and stuff, I think environmental issues and habitats are going to stay the same and I don't believe in building out there and make it better for the lakes.
Bob Kjome: Thank you. Comments on that answer from the candidates? Alright, we're going to go to Martin Pohll. Thanks.
Martin Pohll: One of my key interests I think is an issue is the budget and the reserves. I told you I looked at the budget and I saw a couple of things that caught my eye and one of them had to do with the last two budgets showed an excess income over expenses of over $400,000 in the last two years. Maybe it was intended, maybe not, I don't know, but maybe there should be a more dealt with of reserves and planning of reserves so that we know exactly what's needed to maintain our infrastructure. So there probably needs to be a condition study to figure out what our expenses are going to be over the number of years and so we ... it just seemed odd to me that for a $6 million budget, we had $400,000 of excess income.
The other ones I thought are important is the water. We need to make sure that we maintain the quality of water that we have out here. We need to look at water rights and make sure that we can have a sustained water capacity in the future. Lastly, development's going to be an issue and we need to provide input to the county on the EIR and make sure that we're not impacted adversely in our community or CSD. Thanks.
Bob Kjome: Thank you. Comments on that answer? Okay. Then we're going to go to Linda Butler.
Linda Butler: The top three issues as I've been wandering around the community and talking to people, continue to come up over and over again, water, security, and development. As far as the water situation is concerned, I'm very interested in the supply. We had a study done a couple years ago here, called the Water Assessment Study, and I think that needs to be revisited. There's data in there that was old, old when it was done, and there's lots of new information out here coming at a regular basis from the state of California and a variety of other resources. I believe that we have a job to do there.
Development is here. We are going to have issues surrounding development, we have issues now surrounding development. Traffic, additional people, providing services for those people, development is a big issue and can't be taken lightly.
Finally, security. We've talked a lot about security tonight. I believe that security can start again. We can address it again by looking at cost effective ways to begin answering questions and dealing with our residents who are very very concerned about this. The list is fairly long as far as security issues are concerned, but they don't have to be dealt with in an expensive way. They can be dealt with within the community and cameras, technology, neighborhood watch situations, there's a variety of different things that we can do. I like the one when we throw out the speed bump and move it around the community.
Bob Kjome: Okay. Thank you. Comments on that answer? Okay. Jerry.
Jerry Pasek: Yeah, okay. I agree that security is a big problem, be it the use of gates that are inside ... ingress and access out, or evacuation plans, et cetera, et cetera. But let me get back to the finance issue in particular. When I was working at the corporation, I obtained a masters in finance, looking at that sort of thing and I agree with you. I've always had a problem with why we have about a $400,000 excess and it seems to be very consistent over the years. I think the reason is they're very conservative about what they say the expenses are going to be. Because within CSD, you have a funding profile, you can't take water funds and move it over to security. And we have a security tax that's limited by the votes of the people in 1994 that can only increase by 2 percent a year. Now, given the current tax laws, nobody's going to be able to deduct much anymore anyway, so I personally would like to just get rid of that 1994 proposal so that you can appropriately fund the various funds that are going around and the taxes are supplied to security and drainage. It was put in to make it tax deductible, kind of a convenient way back when. But I said both drainage and security are really being bound and constrained by what needs to be done.
The other one that I agree on, to go back to multiple HOAs. If you go outside the gate, I'll be damned if I know who's in charge of what. On the private streets that are running around and/or the commercial developments et cetera, et cetera. Back to the managed development so that what we get is what we kind of need, but keep in mind that the county is the one who decides what goes in. All you can do is complain.
Bob Kjome: Alright. Thank you. Comments on that answer. Okay, we're going move it over to Morrie.
Morrison Graf: Well, the top three, first one comes to my mind is really controlling or managing our aging infrastructure. As Marty pointed out, there is excess funding coming in and I think that's great because that all goes to our reserves. And when you do look at our reserves, it's a little scary how much we have reserved. So I don't ... the board is, this last board ... current board that's going on has been concerned and is looking to increase those reserves because it seems like every week there's pipes breaking, it seems like every meeting, we are replacing 20-, 30-year-old equipment on a pretty regular basis. So we are chewing through those reserves. It is being looking at, it is being managed, but basically we've got a lot of equipment that's coming to the end of its ... usable life. There are going to be expenditures that this $400,000 a year are going to go for. That's actually one of the good things that the current board has been looking at, is looking to increase [inaudible] structure so that we can afford that and don't have a catastrophic issue and go back to the community and say, "Whoops, we need an additional assessment to pay for these things." It has been accrued over time.
Development issues certainly add ... besides the societal side, infrastructure wise is ... there's a lot of things going on in the design process that ... to make sure it doesn't impact our current systems and overwhelm them or cost the existing community more than it should.
And then, the third thing I had, which is kind of a big package, is I call it relationship with the community stakeholders because we do have multiple groups. We have people outside the gate, people inside. We now have commercial group and we will have the multiple HOAs as our yet community stakeholders.
Bob Kjome: Okay. Thank you Morrie. Comment son that answer. Alright. We will move on to Tim.
Tim Maybee: Thank you. My number one concern is security. Again, bringing back the efficiency and really changing the perception of where it's been lacking for the last 18 months or plus. Again, the RMA has probably – and I haven't seen a budget in 10 plus months, – over $20,000 set aside for cameras. The only thing that RMAs waiting for is working with CSD at getting those cameras set up. Those types of things, you're hearing people say, "Oh, we should put speed bumps in the community." That's all been addressed years ago with the RMA board and how it's going to be done, those types of things. Again, what we're seeing with security is just purely the expectation or the leadership of following through with those things.
Second one for me is water. You know, I want to be real clear here. It's not necessarily about the quality of it, I'm pretty guaranteed that it's safe water. It always has been. We haven't had issues ... okay, so we had a little fish issue quite awhile ago, that was a retention basin. But all seriousness aside, we have very safe water, the district does an excellent job with that. But I am concerned about the reuse and some of the regulations coming.
I crossed out my third one, which was the budget, because Marty covered it. Mine is a working relationship with the RMA and the Country Club. We need to have a better relationship moving forward as a community, and that to me, these three agencies I just mentioned are critical for a majority of the customers. Now, as we work with the Village and people downstream, that can all be wrapped into that as well. Thank you.
Bob Kjome: Comments?
Randy Jenco: I think he hit the nail on the head with the relationships between the other agencies. We need to partner with ... we can ... there's a lot of energy being wasted because we're duplicating some thought processes and some things that we could be doing together and producing a lot better product if we just worked together with some of these other people.
Ron Amarante: Yeah, I just have a question as far as I've only been here for two years and I noticed most of you guys have got a lot of years here, and I was just wondering how come over the years it hasn't been worked out?
Bob Kjome: Okay. I think Tim you're on the rebuttal. You want to take that one.
Tim Maybee: Yeah, some of us have been here quite awhile, especially Randy, it was just cooling I think when you moved.
Randy Jenco: Thanks.
Tim Maybee: Sorry. He brought it up.
Randy Jenco: That's how old I am.
Tim Maybee: Perfect. I think for multiple reasons. I can speak on the RMA portion of it because I was on the Board for six years. There are some very absolutes ... again what is the purpose of CSD? And that's what their responsibility is. But a perfect example is, RMA's responsible for the streets. They don't have to have a street sweeper, but they do and that's a huge cost to run that. The benefit is a lot of crap doesn't go down into the drainage storm drains that the district is responsible for. So it's one of those, we're each responsible for a portion of it, as an example, but it's not coordinated. Just like large purchases of equipment. Luckily as a board member of RMA, I was out of the way and the folks doing the job were able to do the job. If we didn't ... we being RMA didn't have a back ... or a skip loader, CSD did then we would swap back and forth.
So those things work on a daily basis. It's at the board level that we have the issues that we got to figure out. To me, we simply lay down some expectations to the general managers, some thou-shalts and set those expectations and I'm pretty sure we can accomplish just about anything.
Bob Kjome: Thank you Tim. Okay. Randy, you're up for question number three.
Randy Jenco: Top of my list is water rights and Mark mentioned this to me earlier while we were talking. There's a lot of laws and a lot of people that are looking for water and they'll take it from wherever they can get it and we need to be sure that we don't get caught in a surprise. Because if we think that our water is secured, just wait – somebody's going to want it, and we're going to have to fight that fight.
Second thing on my list is topical right now, opening up the Escuela Gate. I understand that it's not CSD's purview, but we're going to be part of that situation. So if RMA decides to open up that Escuela Gate, we need to be ready with a plan to make that work. Personally, I'm in favor of opening it up. I think we ought to open it up, put a license plate reader there and it's just too convenient for too many people to let it sit there and not use it, in my opinion.
Third thing on my list was security. We've talked a lot about security. My thing is the perception that's in the community right now about security and what security's policies are. We know that we got blindsided by the animal protection thing and they can't do that anymore, but there are some things that security ought to be proactive about and going out into the community and improving the community's perception of who security is.
Bob Kjome: Thank you. Comments on that answer?