Elk Grove's Aquatics Operations Hinges on CCSD, EGUSD Help; Possible Sales Tax Increase?

January 14, 2016 |

Although the Elk Grove City Council unanimously approved a massive $50-million Civic Center project at their regular meeting last night, defraying planned money-losing operations of the aquatics center component may hinge on financial support from two other local government entities - the Cosumnes Community Service District (CCSD) and the Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD).

While the complex includes a veterans hall and a combination senior-community center, the centerpiece of the facility is the aquatics center. As originally planned the aquatics center included an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a 10-meter diving platform meant to help bring international swimming and diving competitions to Elk Grove.

After the city had solicited and failed to receive bids that met the $17 million budget, a consultant was hired to explore the various options and competition. That report was delivered by Laura Livingston of Sports Management Group and advised the city against pursuing the original plan.

Rather, Livingston said that a smaller project with a recreational pool would be less costly to construct, maintain and its annual financial losses would be less than the Olympic plan. Livingston noted that competition is stiff for regional, national and international competition and that several existing and planned Bay Area projects venue would put Elk Grove facility at a severe competitive disadvantage.

During his presentation, Assistant City Manager Jason Behrmann said that while the aquatics center will operate at a loss, $10 million bond fund that will be issued this summer from the various Laguna Ridge special planning area Mello Roos maintenance funds could be used to subsidize the annual operating deficits and construction costs shortages. Behrmann also said staff is recommending a collaboration with the Consumes Community services district on the design

"Our recommendation is actually that the city partner with the CSD to assist or collaborate on the design, and ultimately the operation of the facility," Behrmann said.

During their deliberations, Councilman Darren Suen acknowledged that Laguna Ridge homeowners will bear the costs of construction and operating cost in higher Mello Roos taxes relative to other city residents.

"I am very cognizant of the fact that these are taxes a small group relative to the size of our city, that it is their contribution on the tax rolls that are going to these amenities that the entire city will be able to enjoy," Suen said.

Suen also said that he thought it would be best to operate the aquatics center in cooperation with the CCSD.

"I think we need to engage them more in a partnership for operation," he said. "I would like to see, at least, reaching out to the CSD...lets see if we can't get some help from the CSD, the Elk Grove School district  and school district for operating costs that might offset some of these costs we are going to bare."

Councilman Pat Hume agreed and said that "We need to look to the CSD to be a community partner with us with respect to some of those staffing cost." Hume also complained that the Elk Grove Unified School District will pay about $35,000 for use of the pools, and they should "be a better community partner."

Speaking on behalf of the Cosumnes Community Service District Board of Directors, spokesperson Bob Roessle said the district has been involved with the city in the design process and recently was approached about operating the aquatics facility.

"As the parks and recreation providers in Elk Grove, we appreciate the opportunity to sit down with City staff to discuss an operating agreement for an aquatics center," Roessler said. "But it’s far too early to discuss terms of any operating agreement. At this time, we have committed only to discussing an operating agreement."

EGUSD Board of Trustees President Bobbie Singh-Allen acknowledged the city contacted District Superintendent Christopher Hoffman last year, but there was not an interest then or now in offering financial assistance.

"Our current needs for water use are being met with a very reasonable price tag," Singh-Allen said. "The need for more does not exist."

Singh-Allen also noted the district needs to build several new schools and provide for existing schools without current state funding in place.

"While the economy is recovering, school districts still do not receive the necessary funding to meet all of the current needs. For instance, many PTO's still help offset costs to pay for programs, equipment, and more in their respective schools," she said. "We remain committed to ensure that our schools continue to provide the best education for our children. Our school are a tremendous asset for our community. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to assist the City of Elk Grove to provide assistance for the aquatic center."

As the deliberations concluded Mayor Davis also raised the specter of increasing local sales taxes via a November ballot measure to pay for help pay for construction and maintenance of these facilities.  

"It will be used to ensure that we can fund construction of could be used for construction and maintenance of things like the Veteran Hall, Senior Center, aquatics center and other facilities," he said. "The CSD doesn't necessarily have to be the only funding source for maintaining the aquatics complex long-term."  

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Pencil sharpener said...

Elk Grove City Council has champagne taste on a beer budget. Kudos to the CSD and school district for not getting involved in this boondoggle early on when the city was bull headed and willing to go it alone. Now the shaming treatment will begin for them not getting involved. We need wise stewards to manage our tax dollars-not wannabe businessmen bent on making promises and dreams on our dime!

Anonymous said...

This is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard of. Asking the residents of Laguna Ridge to pay for a complex that the city as a whole benefits from...with higher property taxes for years to come. I'm even more surprised that Mr. Hume went along with this. If I was some of those Laguna Ridge homeowners you would be getting an ear full at one of the upcoming council meetings and would walk the streets campaigning against all of you three candidates. I noticed that Ly didn't even support his District with a comment in their favor. Suen did mention his reserves, but in the end voted in favor of it. If this was their "election year statement" it may just backfire.

Hayduke said...

So the plan is to use funding from one agency, the CSD, that has been fairly prudent with its money throughout the last 20 years while providing pretty great services and amenities; use funding from another agency, the USD, that needs every single penny it takes in to educate young people; and use bond funding, thus ensuring plenty of public debt associated with a project that is too ambitious to begin with. Also we can raise taxes.

This is a bad plan and the people responsible should feel bad.

The Mentor's Protege said...

Steve “The Mentor” Detrick changed Pat Hume’s mind! What you say?! The smartest one up there has now gone over to the dark side. Yep, Hume said it folks. What’s next for Pat “The Protégé” Hume? Is Hume now going to learn from Detrick how to illegally use campaign funds and lie out of it? The company Hume keeps is now getting yuck on him!

One pissed off taxpayer said...

Guess what Mr. Laser-Focused? If you put a sales tax increase on the ballot I vote no and urge my friends, family, neighbors and anybody who will listen to vote no. Further, if by some freak possibility such a measure passes, I will be taking a hop, skip and a jump over the border to Sacrament to make my taxable purchases. Delta Shores anyone?

Lynn said...

Lynn said...
In addition to the current Laguna Ridge residents, CFD 2006-1 puts all future homeowners in the city on the hook for an unlimited tax assessment for sports and recreation facilities.

CFD 2006-1:related maintenance costs associated with public parkways,
public parks, open space, landscape setbacks, bike and other paths,
landscaped medians in and adjacent to roadways, maintenance and
operation of a community center, sports (including aquatic) facilities,
cultural arts center, and water features, and maintenance of other
related facilities.

City Web site: CFD 2006-1
"The special tax will be levied in perpetuity (forever). The special tax is levied on single family lots that have a final map, and on single family units that have a building permit. The special tax is levied on multi-family units with a building permit, and on non-residential acreage with a building permit."

Anonymous said...

Lynn, help me out here.....I understood that a $10 million bond would be issued against Laguna Ridge this summer for construction costs the city does not have. Future maint. costs would then be shared by Laguna Ridge and all new home buyers in the city of EG? I'm assuming that would also mean SEPA.

Anonymous said...

It seems the council is only dragging their feet on killing this project. W/o buy in from EGUSD and CSD this project is going nowhere. It's an election year and they don't want to take a stand against the swim moms and veterans.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, but was it wise to take a stand against Laguna Ridge in an election year? Their funny games with the taxpayers can also work in reverse...especially when we get those new candidates signed on. Nothing will be more entertaining than watching their dance then.....

Hat Trick said...

If you listened to the words closely spoken during the meeting you will note that although the city council makes it appear that this is a done deal, there still are hurdles to overcome. The CCSD does not seem to be interested in teaming with the City. Note the quote from The Mayor at the end of this story - "The CSD doesn't necessarily have to be the only funding source for maintaining the aquatics complex long-term." Mayor Davis seems to be implying that he thought the CCSD will roll over and provide long-term funding. Good luck with that. Furthermore, this thing still need needs to be put out to bid, again. No telling what will happen this time around.

Regardless, as others have pointed out, this is an election year and The Mayor and The Mentor now have a bedpost to hang their hat on as they cozy up and spoon all those soccer and swim mom voters. It may not be totally firmed up by this fall, pun intended, but it will not matter with most voters. The Mayor and the Mentor will flood voter mailboxes with slick mailers of their family dressed in all white or their children getting the Key to the City, respectively. Oops, I forgot the Mentor was not able to muster that little trick through so I suppose he'll have to use that picture of him on his throne.

Anonymous said...

Why are they proposing a Children's Museum in addition to the "world class" aquatic facility?

Who is going to pay for this boondogle?

Lynn said...

All the residents who have the CFD 2006-1 on their property tax bill. This is not a fixed assessment and can be re-evaluated and increased every year...Nice way of working around prop 13....just think of seniors buying their retirement homes in the SEPA area or any area developed after 2006...

Connie said...

I feel very badly for the residents of Laguna Ridge and future residents of the SEPA. And here’s what we can now state, the Elk Grove City Council will raise taxes, year after year, for every resident who unfortunately has fallen victim to CFD 2006-1. A five percent increase every year is insane! And make no mistake about it, Elk Grove City Council, don't couch the CFD as a special assessment, it is a tax!

I wonder how many of the Council members contribute to CFD 2006-1? If they don’t, they should voluntarily pony up the money every year!

Anonymous said...

How right you are Connie and this IMO is being abused by our City Council. It's not only being used for building the facilities, but also for the "deficit" disclosed in running the facility each year and future upkeep. Something else I found in my research was that because the Mello Roos tax is typically collected with your general property tax bill, the Facilities District that obtained the lien may withdraw the assessment from the tax roll and commence judicial foreclosure on your property. I believe this can be after 90 days of being unpaid. This could have a hugh impact on seniors and retired residents in the community plus others that have some unfortunate incident impact their lives. I wonder...what the Glenbrooke Adult Community thinks of this? They seem to be silent to date. I'm sure they could care less about an Aquatics Center they would never use, but will be paying dearly for. Feel free to correct if my info should be in error.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 9:16....I do wonder why Mr. Ly the councilperson representing the Adult Community didn't speak out for them. This community of perhaps approx. 600 homes will be hit very hard with this additional tax. They are retired and I would assume some would be living on limited incomes plus they have no children that would be using this facility nor would they be using it. An exemption should be allowed for them from this tax.

Something else I question is the report given by the Sports Management Group. There was no mention that they were made aware or considered the other swim complex nearby, Southgate Aquatics Center. I would think that could result in their projections being a few million dollars under reported. So perhaps a bigger $$$ hit on the seniors and others in Laguna Ridge.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:00:

Those are all very good points.

Perhaps someone should rally those seniors and get them to petition the council for a Mello Roos exclusion or at least a manageable cap since they really won't benefit from the amenities they are paying for with the possible exception of the Senior Center.

They have their own swim center with ADA required features.

I know if I lived out there and was a senior living on a limited budget, I'd be livid about this.
The squeeky wheel gets the grease. Stay quiet and they'll you right over and over and over.

Anonymous said...

Good heavens... has the City Council gone insane or maybe they just think the community is a bunch of idiots. We don't need some world class facilities, it's a darn surburb. We don't even have jobs and none of this is a job fixer. Just millions spent and some residents taxed beyond belief. Time to face reality and stop trying to make this a Destination City and just give the people what they want....a swimming hole! Forget the Animal Shelter...we can't afford it, it's a money pit. I could say more about our city councils actions, but trying to follow the TOS stated.

Anonymous said...

"Laguna Ridge homeowners will bear the costs of construction and operating cost in higher Mello Roos taxes relative to other city residents - Talk about getting the shaft.

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