Resident questions motivations, intents of Elk Grove Water District

September 10, 2018 |  

Although the topic of last Thursday's Elk Grove Planning commission did not involve water conveyance in the city, one resident took the opportunity to question the motivations of one of the water providers in Elk Grove.

Making comments during a hearing on the city's general plan update, Elk Grove resident Suzanne Pecci questioned what the plans are for the Elk Grove Water District (EGWD). The district, which ostensibly is owned by the Florin Resources Conservation District, provides water to Old Elk Grove which lies east of Highway 99.

Pecci started her presentation commenting that the EGWD is now a private corporation based on actions at their April 2018 regular meeting.

"Elk Grove Water service had formally been Florin Resources Conservation, Elk Grove Water District, a department of Florin [resources district]," Pecci said. "In approximately April of this year, Mr. Armstrong and I, were at the meeting, where Florin pretty much folded its tent, co-mingled its funds, and fold now what is Elk Grove Water [District] service."

Pecci went on to opine that any change to a water service should have gone through a local agency formation commission (LAFCO), in this case, the Sacramento LAFCO whether it is expansion or privatization. 

Pecci said the reason she brought this to the planning commission is that the EGWD submitted a letter of interest for Elk Grove's proposed soccer fields and stadium on the south side of Grant Line Road to expand the boundaries of their current service area, which lies north of Grant Line. Pecci noted a sphere of influence application would have to be submitted by EGWS if they sought to annex the soccer facility into their service area.

"Any change of water service is a very public process of outreach, that hasn't been done," she said. "I just want to be sure that we acknowledge Elk Grove Water service, which you call it throughout the general plan [update], is a private corporation."

Pecci also discussed the background of EGWD's general manager, Mark Madison. In employment previous to landing in Elk Grove, Madison was employed by the city of Stockton, California.

"Mark Madison, as you all know, had been employed by the city of Stockton at the time they privatized, unsuccessfully, attempted to privatize the water system and sewer system in the city of Stockton" Pecci noted. 

Pecci highlighted the EGWS Board of Directors, on the recommendation of Madison,  recently hired a new contract attorney, Richard "Ren" Nosky. Like Madison, Nosky was the city attorney of Stockton during the failed privatization effort.  

Additionally, Pecci claimed that Elk Grove's current director of public works, Robert Murdoch, served along with Nosky in Stockton as Madison's assistant. 

"Really, the only person that's not in the city of Elk Grove that was in Stockton [at that time] was Erin Brockovich," Pecci quipped referencing the famous clean water rights advocate. "She's the only one that doesn't seem to be here."

Pecci concluded her comments by saying if the privatization of the EGWS is happening, "this should be public because we need to talk about the impact and the cost." 


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D.J. Blutarsky said...

Talk about a rigged game! Between the City Council, EGWD, and the high level staff and counsel of both agencies, the development projects can't come fast enough! And if EGWD is a private corporation now, I'd love to see who the owners/stockholders are who stand to profit from the city expansion every time a water spigot gets turned on. I've got 1-800-FPPC on speed dial just in case!

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