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North Gate drawing

An artist's drawing of one of the water features proposed for the new North Gate.

The Rancho Murieta Association is looking for ways to stretch its $1.4 million budget for a rebuilt North Gate to include amenities like dual water features flanking the entrance to Murieta North. RMA officials have asked the CSD to pay $200,000 for security related items for the project, and CSD and RMA general managers will be discussing possible trade-offs and reporting back to their boards. The CSD board is expected to take action on the funding request in November.

“I think from the very get-go we were hoping CSD would contribute to the project because as a tenant you had lots of requirements that you wanted. ... it became apparent that what you were requesting was well beyond what we had anticipated at the beginning,” said RMA Director Randy Jenco, part of an RMA contingent that attended the CSD Improvements Committee meeting earlier this month.

Jenco said the CSD wanted new gate equipment, and the size of building changed because of CSD requirements.  It was always his intention to come to CSD and ask to be “reimbursed,” Jenco said.

“My belief is back when the MBA was negotiated was that the $1.4 million was all inclusive,” said CSD General Manager Ed Crouse.

The Mutual Benefit Agreement, a 2003 development agreement between the RMA and Operating Engineers Pension Trust Fund, provides $1.4 million in PTF funding for the gate. The MBA was recently amended to shift responsibility for the design and construction of the gate from the PTF to the RMA.

The RMA owns the gate and CSD operates it according to policies set by the RMA.  The CSD took over security operations from the RMA in 1984 at its request. In 1998, voters approved funding security services as a special tax.

Last month RMA General Manager Greg Vorster sent a letter to Crouse, requesting the CSD pay $194,530 for gate and video equipment, a 30 percent increase in the size of the gatehouse, conduit, a new emergency generator and other expenses related to the security operation at the gate as well as the gate configuration an RMA board selected in 2005 that retains the left turn on Lago Drive for entering resident traffic. The CSD supported a gate option recommended by a joint CSD/RMA committee in 2003 that eliminated the left turn.

“While enhancing the security operations is a priority, RMA also desires to upgrade the appearance of the entry. ...  Under the current funding it does not appear both can be accomplished,” Vorster wrote. “The $1.4 million budget agreed to in the MBA in 2003 did not take into consideration many of the enhancements being considered 10 years later. Those enhancements include the left hand turn onto Lago, a third entry lane, a covered guest access lane, and larger, more dramatic entry features.”

According to Crouse, the proposed gatehouse will be similar in size and function to the South Gate facility, with capability added for viewing, recording and storing camera feeds. Dispatch will continue to be a South Gate function.

Vorster’s letter includes cost estimates for the gate project and drawings of an amenity for the entrance. When asked about the water feature, Vorster said by phone that it was scaled down for budget reasons from the architect’s first design. He said the original design was a river scene, with multiple pools, natural rock and cascading water. At more than $2 million, this version of the gate was “much more expensive than we could afford,” Vorster said. The $1.4 million budget version is a stone-clad curved wall with a six-foot deep pool and other features. Vorster said the RMA gate committee wants water features on both sides of the entrance.

In his reply to Vorster, Crouse wrote, “In general, it appears that the Rancho Murieta Association (RMA) is trying to shift its funding responsibilities to others to compensate for a project that is over budget due (to) grandiose entry landscape treatments, including multiple water features.” Crouse states that the CSD had no involvement in “defining the form or function of the gate” during negotiations for the MBA in 2003.

Improvements Committee

The CSD Improvements Committee's meeting this month was a meeting place for the CSD and Rancho Murieta Association to discuss the issue.

Vorster and Jenco took issue with some of the points in Crouse’s letter. Jenco characterized it as “us versus them” and said cooperation was the direction needed from the boards. “We’re all the same people. I pay my CSD bill every month. I belong to the association. ... We want a gate, landscaping, an entrance that we all are proud of when we drive in...,” Jenco said.

Jenco said he’s looking for CSD to go “beyond just buying new equipment. ... Because that’s the pot of money we can use to do other things in addition to making sure you’ve got the facility you want.”

CSD Director Bobbi Belton asked if the RMA was talking with the investor group that purchased the PTF property on the North about the “contribution they could, should, would make based on benefit to their property.”

Vorster responded that the new North developer had assumed PTF’s position -- “They feel that the $1.4 million is their contribution to the new North Gate.”

Developer John Sullivan of Cosumnes River Land, part of the North development group, was present at the meeting. Sullivan, who regularly attends CSD committee meetings and sits at the conference table with committee members, participating freely in discussions, sat apart from the group this time and didn’t comment until asked. Then he said the funds wouldn’t have become available to the RMA without the efforts of Jenco and Cosumnes Land. “We kind of broke the money loose in conjunction with RMA as we saw things coming to a conclusion on the purchase, and the gate’s an important redesign element of the new North,” Sullivan said.

Belton said she’d like the two general managers to do some talking before the funding issue comes to the CSD board in November. Belton suggested there might be “some quid pro quos,” related to fees charged by the two organizations, and asked how much the RMA was going to charge the CSD in road mitigation fees during construction of a new water treatment plant.

CSD Director Paul Gumbinger agreed that Vorster and Crouse should get together and find out how much CSD can contribute. Gumbinger, who signed the MBA as RMA president, has an advisory role on the RMA gate committee.

Janet Nicholson's picture
Joined: 10/28/2007
Posts: 236
Post rating: 380

North Gate

Had to laugh at the headline - CSD, RMA dffer.  Now there's a surprise.  LOL!

Not much time to think about this right now and sorry I couldn't make the meeting this week, but when do we, the residents, get to see more of this gate plan than a fountain?  It looks very nice, but must eat up a chunk of the $1.4 Million.  I'm more interested in spending the money on the operational piece of the gate remodel and would love to see what the decided upon 2005 configuration looks like. 

Maybe I read that part of the article wrong - I was hurrying, so please correct me if I did, but  I'm confused.  Didn't we just spend the last few years with thoughts and potential designs and a workgroup to decide on a configuration to be put before the membership?  There was talk of how to accomodate school buses and the left turn onto Lago and people who get refused entry and have to get back out.  Why are we now back to a 2005 configuration?  If it was good then, why didn't we do it then?  I thought we didn't do it because the majority of the folks here at the time (doesn't include me and I don't know what the 2005 looks like) didn't think it would work effectively for what we were trying to accomplish - hence the new workgroup that was put together in the last year or two. 

Bill Gengler's picture
Joined: 06/26/2008
Posts: 99
Post rating: 167

RMA Gate?

Is that a picture of a wanted community swimming pool at the front gate or is it the expensive pool for the new water treatment plant?

William Gengler


Martha Glunt's picture
Joined: 07/29/2007
Posts: 193
Post rating: 421

North gate water feature...

Haven't been following along at all really and, in fact, didn't even read the above article.  That said, I'm just wondering if the same great attention to detail will be paid to a North Gate water feature as is paid to the south gate feature!  The water stains are super attractive!  Makes me want to get out a pumice stone and clean every time I come in!  Perhaps we could have a design that doesn't have water?

Shelley Wright's picture
Joined: 10/14/2007
Posts: 110
Post rating: 78

North Gate

What happened to the money that we were supposed to get when the Arbors were built?


Cheryl Ammaturo's picture
Joined: 05/18/2008
Posts: 1
Post rating: 0

New gate?

I have never posted an opinion before but after reading through the  web site's home page today and thinking alot about what I have just read......  People in the community trying to raise money for others  with cancer, people in need, and knowing/experiencing all the wonderful things that have been done trying to help others over the years....and I am proud to be a member of this community for 19 years .... Are people actually considering spending so much money for a new front gate to the entrance of RM north?  Do we not have anything better or anything more important to do with money in life? 

Steven Mobley's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 261
Post rating: 325

North Gate

I've been away for awhile. I was under the impression that the $1.4 million was ALL that was dedicated for the rehab of the North Gate. In my opinion, that is a serious amount of money for a small little building, which replaces an existing building (and is probably about 4X what my 2450+ sq ft residence is presently worth). For the RMA to expect the CSD to somehow come up with additional monies to make other improvements beyond the MBA stated $1.4 million seems incredible to me. The CSD is not a cash cow to be milked for money when needed by our HOA . The CSD is a PUBLIC AGENCY that is severily limited in how much it can have in budget excess each year, beyond actual operating costs. I may be mistaken, but I don't recall there ever being any additional monies budgeted and set aside for pet projects like new North Gate modifications.

I agree, once again, with CSD GM Ed Crouse's message to the RMA board. Ed seems to be sticking with doing what is right and lawful. It isn't simply an issue about  "us versus them", never has been in my opinion. BTW, I am very pleased with the past and present performance of our RMA board. I believe they are doing many great things for our community, but think this to be a bit of an overreach.

Steven Mobley

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