| Filed under

The Community Services District board let a proposed DUI enforcement policy die for lack of a second to a motion Wednesday, received the annual Security Department report and heard General Manager Ed Crouse deliver a history of the district's water treatment operations. Crouse provided perspective on negotiations for expanding the water treatment plant and challenged Murieta Gardens developer John Sullivan’s claims that his project is entitled to water.

Sullivan had addressed the board before it went into closed session, continuing his push to get the board to authorize water and sewer service for the hotel project.

The CSD maintains water will become available for the 83-room hotel as part of a financing agreement for the expansion and rebuild of the existing water treatment plant. Sullivan says the Murieta Gardens development is already entitled to water and sewer service, and the existing plant is able to meet the project's needs.

At stake is funding for the water treatment plant. If Murieta Gardens were to receive water service, the remaining members of the developer group negotiating for CSD services would have a right to water service without constructing a plant because "we can't do for one what we can't do for the others," Crouse has said.

Crouse’s presentation and a memo he wrote to the board cover the following:

Water treatment history

There are currently two water plants located below Lake Chesbro. In 1977, the Pension Trust Fund for Operating Engineers constructed the first of the two plants. At the time, all the facilities in Rancho Murieta were funded and built by the PTF “as a private entity,” Crouse said.  The plant capacity of 1.5 million gallons a day could serve “roughly a thousand units ... And that probably served Units 1 and 2.”

Growth on the North continued, the CSD was formed in 1982, and in 1986, a duplicate plant was built with funds from Improvement District #1.

The bonds for Improvement District #1 were paid off in 2004.

The $19 million improvement district “was part acquisition and part construction,” Crouse said. “Part of the acquisition was a wastewater treatment plant expansion ... main lift north pump station ... and force main ... Granlees pump station and forebay, Calero siphon and piping ... as well as Phase II of the water treatment plant.”

The 1986 Acquisition and Services Agreement Improvement District #1 acknowledges “that further improvements, in addition to those which are the subject of the Agreement, will be required to fully develop the Property. RMPI expressly acknowledges and agrees that it is and will be the sole responsibility of RMPI or its successors in interest to finance such additional improvements, including but not limited to, expansions of the water treatment plant, the sewage treatment plant, lift stations, pumps, ponds, dams, reservoirs, trunk lines, structures, equipment and related appurtenances.”

According to Crouse’s memo, the current two water treatment plants “were designed to serve the existing commercial businesses as well as Murieta Village and all of the lots in Units 1-4, both occupied and unoccupied.”

In 1992, a Mello-Roos district, Community Facilities District No. 1 (CFD 1) was formed, “in part, to fund Water Treatment Plant III (WTP III) to serve Rancho Murieta South,” the memo reads. “WTP III has not been constructed yet, owing to an extension granted by the District in the early 1990’s as well as attempts to incorporate WTP III’s capacity in other treatment plant expansions.”

The bonds will be paid off in 2015.

According to Crouse’s memo, “Both WTP I & II were retrofitted in 1994-95 to meet newer surface water treatment rules. This was done by increasing the depths of the sand and anthracite filtration media of each plant’s filters. Funding for this work came from Reynen and Bardis (Winncrest) as a trade off for the delay in the WTP III expansion.

“All of the remaining undeveloped lands in Rancho North as well as undeveloped commercial and industrial lands south of Highway 16 were to be served by Water Treatment Plant IV (WTP IV). WTP IV was to be constructed with funds from a separate Community Facilities District, which was never formed due the financial insolvency of the then developer/owner RMPI (Jack Anderson).”

Current plans

“In the early 2000’s, as part of our water treatment plant capacity analysis for full build-out, the District decided to pursue membrane water treatment technology and to combine WTP III & IV capacity into the existing WTP I & II footprint, thereby reducing the number of treatment plants to operate and maintain, while improving treatment capabilities,” the memo reads.

“The current approach to water plant construction envisions the current entitled projects, collectively known as the 670 Group (Lakeview, Riverview, Residences East and West, Retreats and Murieta Gardens) expanding the capacity of WTP I to accommodate their capacity needs. This project will replace the existing conventional sand/anthracite filtration with membrane treatment. For the remaining undeveloped properties, WTP II is planned to be expanded to meet their capacity needs. As with WTP I, the WTP II expansion is currently planned to replace sand/anthracite filtration with membrane technology.”

Capacity

When asked about  plant capacity, Crouse replied,  “Our plants roughly run at 87-90 percent of capacity. ... The rate of capacity is about 3.5 million gallons per day, and when you start going above 3.1, 3.2, you start stressing the plant. ... You have reduced water quality. ... My philosophy is even running at 90 percent, you start planning for the future because you don’t want to start running at the ragged edge. ... Things change, so my philosophy is always to have a buffer, and have a safety factor. So from an operational standpoint, I feel we’re at capacity. ... We have in the past produced 3.5 mgd on a variety of days in 2005 and 2007. On peak days in warm months, we’ve hit 3.5 mgd. So for me, based on hitting those peaks as well as being at roughly 90 percent of capacity, I want, and I know our operators want, a safety factor. ”

His memo notes, “It is the District’s policy that WTP I & II are at capacity due to current and prospective water service commitments. As such, all new development is required to provide the expanded capacity needed by their development ...  The current Murieta Gardens developer/owner asserts there is available capacity and that the property is owed 110,000 gpd of capacity by that property’s inclusion in ID 1. The District disagrees with that assertion.

“In 2004, 50 units of water capacity beyond the 690 unit threshold, requiring construction of WTP III, were released to Reynen and Bardis (actually their home building entities) to allow completion of the Greens and Crest home building efforts. Since the South had already committed and provided funding via CDF 1, it was in negotiations to build WTP III expansion with the 670 Group, and there was available capacity at the time, accommodation of Reynen & Bardis’ request was reasonable.”

Reynen & Bardis provided a letter of credit for the South’s share of the new water plant. “That letter of credit is good as gold,” Crouse told the board.

Construction costs

Crouse notes in his memo that cost estimates for a new water treatment plant are estimates  “based on old designs for a failed large WTP expansion back in 2003. The $10 million was a plug number back from 2005, when the construction market was hot and prices high. Now, due to the economy, most public work construction costs are off 2005 costs by 30-40%, hence the plug number of $6 million. The Financing and Services Agreement (FSA) being negotiated has provisions to redesign the plant and get more accurate construction costs. In the end though, the final costs will be the final bid amounts whenever the project goes to construction.”

Crouse estimated construction would take two years.

2012 Security review

Security Chief Greg Remson’s  annual report on security operations included staffing information, the duties of gate officers and patrol officers, the amount of non-resident traffic at the gates, calls for service, crime complaints, DUI arrests, animal calls and Rancho Murieta Association rule citations.

Security gate and patrol operations provide 24-hour service. They are funded by a tax that voters approved in 1998.

Greg Remson

Speeding and stop-sign violations stopped being an emphasis for the Rancho Murieta Association in 2012, Security Chief Greg Remson explained in his report on 2012.

Statistics for crime complaints showed trespassing complaints more than doubled over 2011, going from 67 to 142, a change Remson attributed to the installation of gates on the Pension Trust Fund property.  The petty/grand theft and vandalism categories showed small decreases from 2011,  with theft declining from 67 to 61 complaints and vandalism from 49 to 44. Complaints in the drugs/alcohol category increased to 37 from 25 in 2011.

RMA non-architectural rule citations for stop sign violations declined from 350 in 2011 to 225 in 2012, and speeding citations went from 353 to 186. “Stop sign, speeding (citations) are way down,” Remson said. “We do the majority of the stop sign/speeding in conjunction with the homeowners association. In other words, their compliance officer and one of our officers. So they really ramped it up in 2011 and ramped it down in 2012. And the driveway parking rule is a little different now so we don’t see as many of those (citations).”

The presentation is available here.

DUI enforcement policy

After months of discussion at the CSD, the Rancho Murieta Association and the Country Club,  a policy developed in response to an accident last year was defeated without a vote. The CSD proposed the policy in response to a DUI car accident a Security patrol officer witnessed but couldn’t take any action to prevent.

Director Bobbi Belton offered a motion to adopt the policy Wednesday night, but none of the other four directors seconded the motion, so it couldn't come to a vote.

The policy would have allowed Security patrol officers to attempt a voluntary stop by flashing amber hazard lights when they observed a vehicle being driven dangerously within the gates and suspected the driver was impaired.

During a months-long effort, a paragraph was added to the policy to address some of the concerns raised by RMA and Country Club officials. It stated there was no intent “to restrict the residents’ or their guests’ responsible use of alcoholic beverages at their homes, community events or the Country Club” and the policy was not intended to authorize DUI check-points or stake outs.

The CSD had asked the RMA to adopt a rule requiring vehicles to stop when a security patrol vehicle turned on its amber caution lights. At its November meeting, the RMA board voted against having a rule, called the proposed policy "ill-advised” and maintained it would create liability for the RMA.

CSD General Manager Ed Crouse, who appeared at the November RMA meeting to answer questions about the policy,  said there had been six DUI arrests in the previous six months, which some RMA directors said was an indication the policy isn't needed.

Here is live-blog coverage from the meeting:

Your comments