ASSESSMENT FAILS 2/12/13
Votes were counted at the hearing on Feb 12, 2013 with a tally of 82 OPPOSED and 43 FOR the RMD 121 assessment.
Thanks to Madera County for the opportunity and to the residents of Cascadel for voting.
Don’t Forget to Vote on the RMD!
These are the roads to your home and investment. The only mistake you can make is not voting. For the first time in the history of Cascadel Woods you have a choice. Lost your ballot? Call Tanna Boyd at (559) 675-7700. You’ll get another.
PLEASE VOTE – Voting is Your Right & Responsibility
Your ballot must be returned to the County Clerk in time for the ballot counting at the February 12th hearing. If returning by mail, make sure it gets there before Tuesday, February 12th, 2013. That means mail it now! You can also return your ballot in person at the hearing. Bring identification with you. There is no such thing as a proxy in true democracy. You must either mail your ballot to be in the Clerk’s hands in time for the hearing, or bring it personally with identification to be turned in before the close of the hearing.
REMEMBER – This is the United States of America.
YOUR VOTE IS COMPLETELY CONFIDENTIAL
Votes will be counted at the public hearing on Tuesday, 2/12/2013. The Board of Supervisors’ meeting starts at 9 am. Our RMD 121 hearing starts at 10 am. The meeting is at 200 W. 4th Street, Madera, CA 93637. You can call the Clerk of the Board at 559-675-7700. Click Here for Map. Once the hearing closes, you cannot vote.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! FACTS, NOT ATTACKS!
Enough is Enough, Facts Not Attacks
FACT: $151 is more than enough for a viable district.
FALSE STATEMENT: The “county” can and will increase the assessment.
REALITY: $151 is a viable base assessment that cannot, and will not be increased. The $151 was arrived at by the County of Madera Road Department based on their experience with over 125 districts. The reality is that all road money goes to roads with the road maintenance district, as opposed to over half not going to roads with our current system. Therefore, $151 gets us $151 of work, as opposed to $200 getting us less than $100, if that, since road work is done so infrequently, and in the case of the culverts fails and has to be redone.
Under California law, Prop 218, assessments can only be raised with a vote of the affected parcel owners. In other words, the county can’t increase the assessment. Madera County carefully chose our $151 assessment for a reason, to be viable. We aren’t going to have to raise the assessment as the assessment is viable. The county knows what it takes for a viable district, and came to $151 based on experience.
Under the current CWPOA voluntary system, rates can, and have been, arbitrarily increased without “member” input to cover employee raises and other non-road purposes. Rates were raised 42% just two years ago, without a vote of any residents, paid “members” or not.
With the RMD we pay $151 annually on our tax bill, $75.50 for lots, adjusted annually up or down under the Consumer Price Index to keep the district viable on an ongoing basis. All fees go to actual road work. That is $49 less than we pay the CWPOA, $24.50 less for lots.
SO $151, IN FACT, GOES MUCH MUCH FARTHER than $200 because there is no overhead.
Here’s the break down, according to records filed from the recently resigned CWPOA Treasurer, of the $30,000 in road fees collected annually, $10,000 per year (33%) is taken right off the top for corporate overhead and salaries. Respectively, that reduces the $200 we pay by 33%, leaving $133, already well under $151.
Of that $133, every time a dollar is spent, another “20% overhead” fee is taken, also according to reports filed by the recently resigned CWPOA Treasurer. That takes the $133 down to $106. Of that $106, another round of “overhead” is incurred for employee phone calls, meeting with, and “supervising” contractors, and other incidental overhead employee time related to hiring contractors, at an estimated rate of 10 to 15% depending on the size of the bid. That reduces the $106 to somewhere around $95 dollars on average remaining to “potentially” go to actual road work. But that’s not the end of it.
The fact is, that any other CWPOA expenses, CSA “facilities maintenance” that may or may not be reimbursed, accounting, attorney’s fees, rent, utilities, virtually any expense, must also come out of road money, and that remaining $95 in road money gets bled away even further. For example, professional fees for the last three years, just for accounting and attorney fees now exceeds $10,000 dollars and counting.
But with the RMD we pay $151 annually (or $75.50 for empty lots) with the FULL AMOUNT GOING TO ACTUAL ROAD WORK. All funds are locked away in an interest bearing account for our roads only, and can only be used on roads. With the CWPOA we are paying $200, with maybe $95 going to actual road work, demonstratively inferior road work that has to be redone, and our road money is not locked away for roads but remains floating around as the CWPOA “slush fund”.
With the RMD we pay $49 less and get AT LEAST $56 MORE ROAD WORK dollars that can’t be used for anything else.
The fact is that the CWPOA has no other income than road money and dues. The $3,000 in dues collected, barely covers anything. There is no other money to pay for ongoing non-road expenses. So our “mandatory” road money continues to be misused to cover all of these other costs and expenses, unless and until we have a CWPOA board willing to radically cut expenses, rather than continually increasing expenses and then raising “mandatory” fees ever higher.
FACT: We can plow our own roads.
FALSE STATEMENT: The RMD ends local snowplowing.
REALITY: All it takes is a CWPOA board committed to doing what it takes to provide the RMD with local plowing. It’s easy. If the CWPOA board is unwilling to do that, with the road maintenance district we have tons of other options for local plowing. With the RMD we don’t have all our eggs in one basket. All it takes is a willing and creative mentality.
YES, WE CAN DO OUR OWN PLOWING. And we most likely will. Just as was proposed by the current CWPOA president and others in 2009, the county will provide road maintenance, and plowing can be local. What we can’t do is violate and ignore the codes, with or without the RMD. All our roads are dedicated public roads under county jurisdiction. And with the RMD, all road money goes to roads and cannot be used as a private slush fund.
One example of a very creative and cost effective way to do our plowing locally, and save even more money, funds that can go to road improvements instead, is by having the county own and maintain the snowplow truck. Much like volunteer fire departments and the Citizens on Patrol program, we can have the county own and maintain our truck, keep it here in Cascadel, and trained and certified volunteers do the plowing. This means plowing costs would drop dramatically. And the CWPOA would be freed of having to run any road related payroll altogether. Cascadel can return to its volunteer roots, save money and get better and code compliant results improving all our property values, insurance options and quality of life here.
That’s just one example of a highly desirable plowing solution. And with the RMD we always have a fall back safety with the county crews already up here for Cascadel Heights anyway. We don’t need to limit ourselves to “the way it’s always been done”. We can have more and better options with the RMD.
FACT: The association is an independent entity that can coexist with the RMD.
FALSE STATEMENT: The RMD ends the CWPOA.
REALITY: All it takes is a CWPOA board committed to operating openly and honestly. As stated above, the CWPOA currently operates on road money. Without that road money they will have to make deep cuts, or find other income. Rather than face that reality and be honest with us, false statements are made to create the illusion that this is a choice between the CWPOA or the RMD. It is not. We can have both. We need a CWPOA board willing to face reality.
And the CWPOA board is under investigation by the Auditor/Controller for alleged misuse of CSA 21 funds, which means in all likelihood reimbursements from the CSA 21 taxpayer funds will be dropping, possibly dramatically. Honestly and openly funding the CWPOA will have to happen soon, no matter what happens with the RMD.
FACT: The association has no road authority and cannot “force” us to pay them.
FALSE STATEMENT: The CWPOA has the authority to maintain roads, and collect “mandatory” taxes for “roads”. Even scarier false statement, the CWPOA is legally “responsible” for roads.
REALITY: Nothing could be further from the truth. The CWPOA owns no property in Cascadel, never has, and hopefully never will. Private road maintenance rights come from property ownership through what are called “easements”. If you don’t own property, you don’t have an easement. The CWPOA board president appears to be arguing that Civil Code 845 grants the CWPOA board authority to collect “road” fees. However, CC 845 deals only with private right of ways. Civil Code 845 does not apply. Two outdated court documents pertaining only to private roads and binding only on specific property owners are also cited in legal arguments. Again, the CWPOA owns no land in Cascadel. These are legal theories only, and hopefully will never be tested. In the past three years, thousands and thousands of dollars have been spent on legal “advice” that seems to be pushing the CWPOA board toward an all out legal battle.
What the CWPOA board isn’t telling us, and what many folks already know and therefore aren’t paying for roads, and haven’t for at least 12 years, is that all the roads in Cascadel are dedicated public roads. A road is either public or private, it can’t be both. A public road, even if privately maintained, is still a public road.
So even if the CWPOA owned property and could therefore claim authority under these outdated documents and under Civil Code 845 applicable only to private roads, the roads are public, so none of that applies. And even if they owned property and the roads were still private, which they aren’t, the CWPOA could only collect for actual road work, not overhead salaries and insurance. It’s quite a pickle, and there is an easy solution, a road maintenance district.
Dedicated roads are different than private roads. They are public roads under county jurisdiction. Those court documents and Civil Code 845 do not apply, and never did.
In 1976 the so called “private” roads in Cascadel were all given to the County of Madera. The county does not maintain them, but has jurisdiction over them. Cascadel Road was already a deeded public road since 1888. The county has jurisdiction over all roads in Cascadel. For proof all one has to do is note that encroachment permits are required to do any work on public roads. The county issues the encroachment permits.
The CWPOA recently pulled encroachment permits. If the CWPOA has road authority, and these are private roads as the CWPOA president seems to be arguing, encroachment permits would not be required. The encroachment permits recently mailed out to residents are further proof that the roads are public and the CWPOA has no road authority. The County of Madera does.
The CWPOA president has now suddenly vowed to take everyone who fails to pay “mandatory” “road” fees to court. This is very serious. Falsely claiming a lien is called “slander of title” and very serious and very risky, and subject to damages. Suing 20 to 30 delinquent accounts is not acceptable, nor is targeting specific property owners as “test” cases. Lawsuits must stop. It’s time to face reality.
The CWPOA board shouldn’t be spending tens of thousands of our road dollars going to war in court against our neighbors. They’ve already spent well over $10,000 and climbing, just for legal “advice” in preparation to sue folks, and to block the RMD. And despite assertions to the contrary, the CWPOA board’s accumulation of professional fees over the past three years started long before any RMD proposal was broached and runs into several thousands of dollars.
Now still more professional fees are being accrued, on our dime, without our permission, to fix the books, fix the culverts, and on still more attorney fees. What is it going to take to get them to them stop?
There is a better way, the Road Maintenance District. The RMD solves all this and creates a fair and altruistic way for us to get our roads done legally, fairly, reasonably priced and permanently. We can end lawsuits and we can end legal fees. Everyone benefits in so many ways with the RMD.
RMD 218 Vote & MAC Pass, CWPOA Under Investigation
BALLOTS WERE MAILED FRIDAY 12/14/12
12/11/12 Board of Supervisors’ Meeting Results
The Madera County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the RMD (now goes to the 218 vote) and MAC. (Click here to view the meeting. If you click the agenda item in the right column, the video will jump to that point. We are Items 11 & 12.)
Item 11 – County Service Area 21 Municipal Advisory Committee (MAC)
CSA 21 – Item 11 began with a report by the Madera County Auditor/Controller, Marcia Hall. Her department is investigating potential misuses of the tax money collected for the CSA. So far she has discovered what appears to be significant payments made to CWPOA for unauthorized purposes such as insurance and salaries. Public comment followed. The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the resolution to recognize the oversight advisory MAC with initial members: Joanne Freemire, Janice Quistad and OJ Hefner.
Item 12 – Proposed Road Maintenance District 121 Cascadel
RMD – For Item 12 the Board heard from the Road Commissioner, multiple residents and 2 members of the Initial Steering Committee regarding the formation of Road Maintenance District 121 Cascadel. At the end of public comment they voted unanimously to go to the 218 vote and set the ballot counting and hearing for February 12, 2013. Ballots were mailed on Friday 12/14/12.
Prop 218 Ballots
With your ballots you will receive information from Madera County and the Initial Steering Committee. If you do not receive this package please contact the clerk at the Board of Supervisors’ office, the Road Commissioner of any of the Steering Committee Members
Initial Steering Committee Report on Proposed MD 121, Cascadel (RMD)
Sunday, December 09, 2012
Presented by Marie Iden, Mark Stamas & Roger Tucker
Greetings Residents of Cascadel,
This report is the result of information gathered from several public meetings conducted in Cascadel and Madera, meetings with Madera County officials, and investigations by members of the initial steering committee.
When we were asked by Johannes Hoevertsz, Madera County road Commissioner, to serve as an interim steering committee to explore the formation of a Road Maintenance District for Cascadel, we entered into the position with an expectation that we would be able to have an open and honest dialog with the Cascadel Community. We were shocked when a vocal minority tried to make the principal issue about who was on the steering committee, rather than a discussion of the merits of a RMD.
After holding several public meetings, we are surprised with the level of disinformation that is being actively disseminated by the Cascadel Woods Property Owners Association (CWPOA), their employees, and some residents.
After hearing many of the misrepresentations made by CWPOA officers, we put our report to the community on hold so that we could confirm all of the facts regarding the proposed RMD as well as investigate the statements of the CWPOA. This report is the result of our efforts to confirm the facts about the proposed RMD, an effort that the CWPOA purports to perform, but has not yet demonstrated an ability to present a complete and unbiased picture of the issues.
In October of this year, a three member committee was established by the Madera County Road Department to provide information and gather comments about a proposed Road Maintenance District (RMD) in Cascadel. The committee make up was based on a public suggestion by Brian Curtis: one CWPOA representative, one initial petitioner and one at large member. Both Brian Curtis and Stan Eggink turned down a seat on the committee. The Initial Steering Committee has prepared this report based on information received from the public record, Cascadel Woods Property Owners Association (CWPOA) records, Cascadel residents and Madera County officials. The initial committee consists of Marie Iden, Mark Stamas & Roger Tucker.
Road Maintenance District 121, Cascadel
The proposed RMD solves many problems that have plagued Cascadel for decades. The RMD will end challenges to the legal status of roads, ensuring that public safety is preserved and adequately maintained, and will provide a sustainable funding mechanism for long term road maintenance and improvement of the roads in Cascadel. This will preserve or increase property values and assures the best chance at obtaining or retaining homeowner’s insurance.
Though all of Cascadel’s roads have always been public access, in 1976 the developers made it official. All “private” roads were dedicated to Madera County by Cascadel Ranch Properties Inc. All “private” Cascadel roads then officially became public county right of ways in continued public use under the authority of Madera County. The already deeded Cascadel Road was deeded to the public in 1888. Over the years the CWPOA has maintained Cascadel’s roads without authority with funding coming from road maintenance fees collected from parcel owners. Repeated attempts to get the county to take over road maintenance have failed, most recently in 2009. In the last 15 years, the CWPOA has collected $434,000 in road assessments, almost a half of a million dollars, and only a small fraction of that has gone to road maintenance. The CWPOA is not an efficient way to maintain our roads.
In addition, the CWPOA does not have binding legal authority to collect funds for, or to maintain public roads. The notices that were sent to residents indicating the assessment is mandatory are not true and any assessments will be difficult to collect in the future.
The proposed RMD will not destroy the CWPOA or curtail any of its legal activities. Any suggestion that the CWPOA needs the road maintenance money to operate is just not true and is a scare tactic meant to divert discussion from the actual issues. All CWPOA fees are optional.
Background – How establishing a RMD was started
Earlier this year Mark Stamas met with Supervisor Wheeler and Road Commissioner Hoevertsz to discuss grading and maintenance for Cascadel Road performed by the county. During that meeting the subject of a county maintenance district came up. When Supervisor Wheeler learned we have no district, he asked why one had never been established. After learning we’d been told repeatedly over the years that we could not, Supervisor Wheeler said that’s not true and we can form a RMD if we want.
Inspired by the 2009 failed grassroots effort to bring county road maintenance to Cascadel through CSA 21, Mark Stamas formally requested that the County Road Dept explore county road maintenance for Cascadel. At that point, Mark went to the CWPOA president to ask for his and the CWPOA board’s support. Mark then went to the CWPOA board to ask for their support, in person and in writing. The CWPOA chose not to support the grassroots movement for county maintenance. This was in contrast to the 2009 effort where the CWPOA did support the movement. The reasons became clear at Supervisor Wheeler’s August 25th community meeting when the CWPOA president said to consider a RMD “as a collection agency” for the CWPOA.
A RMD is not a collection agency for private entities, but rather a way for us to levy road fees on ourselves that entirely go directly to roads. In the following report, you will find some answers to questions we have been able to verify.
Issues addressed by the Steering Committee
The initial steering committee focused on the following issues:
- How can the legal issues of road maintenance be addressed?
- What is the best available mechanism to provide a legal and sustainable road maintenance program for Cascadel?
- What are the concerns of the parcel owners?
- Should the CWPOA be included in a final solution?
- How do we keep a high level of service for snow removal?
History of Cascadel Woods Subdivisions and Cascadel
Out of part of the historic 480 acre Cascadel Ranch, the Cascadel Woods subdivision was created by Cascadel Ranch Properties Inc in 1957 with access via the public road known as Cascadel Road. A second subdivision, Cascadel Woods Subdivision 2, followed in late 1957 with the same access. The third and final subdivision, Cascadel Woods Subdivision 4, was approved in 1963, also with access from Cascadel Road. The entire remaining ranch was still open space. This surrounding property was split into parcels over time.
Over the years, there have been disputes about who owns the roads in Cascadel and the outlying parcels and who may maintain them. Most of these disputes were between parcel owners and did not involve Madera County as a direct participant though county maintenance was sought repeatedly. In the last few years, some parcel owners, new to the area, have included Madera County in court actions. This has resulted in an increased focus on the status of roads in Cascadel. All roads in Cascadel have always been public access. Cascadel Ranch goes back to the 1800s. There was even once a Cascadel post office, a store, and so on. However, as mentioned above, all of the “private” roads were dedicated, and accepted by continued public use, in 1976. The “private” roads then officially became public right of ways under county authority.
Why is a Road Maintenance District being proposed?
A RMD is being proposed to provide a better way for road maintenance that costs less, ensure all of our road money goes directly to roads, ends controversy regarding roads, increases our property values, and, most importantly, provide a full release of liability.
Cascadel is currently the only public road network in Madera County that does not have a legally authorized mechanism with binding authority to maintain roads which complies with Madera County and California State requirements.
The initial steering committee, none of whom will be on any permanent RMD committee, started researching the existing status of roads in Cascadel and how they had been historically maintained. The initial steering committee also held public meetings with local residents to solicit their input and respond to questions.
It quickly became clear that some residents had concerns about the process of establishing a RMD. We also saw the start of a very aggressive disinformation campaign that is attempting to call into question the future direction of Cascadel roads without taking responsibility for the problems that exist today.
There are two primary reasons to consider a RMD. First, the CWPOA is not an efficient or qualified organization for maintaining roads. The second is that the CWPOA lacks a reliable mechanism to collect assessments. The CWPOA does not have staff, directors, or resources that allow them to efficiently use the current road assessment for road purposes. The CWPOA also has no legal right to assess anyone for road maintenance.
Since 1997, the CWPOA has collected over $434,000 in assessments that were earmarked for road maintenance. During that time, $117,000 or 27% was actually spent on roads. Of that 27%, two-thirds (66%) was spent on contract labor. In contrast, with a RMD, at least 97%, and typically 99% of our assessment will be spent on actual road projects when capital improvements are made, 100% for road maintenance projects and routine maintenance.
Additionally, of CWPOA funds that have actually been spent on road maintenance, the quality of the work, for the most part, has not been good. The same sections of roadways have been patched repeatedly and culvert repairs have failed.
CWPOA Limitations – Failed Culverts
The CWPOA is not a licensed, authorized or qualified road maintenance entity. The recent culvert repairs are a good example of the difficulty the CWPOA faces in performing significant road maintenance. When the CWPOA was given quotations for a permanent repair or a patch on the culverts, they chose to take the least expensive option that omitted engineering, permitting and professional supervision.
While the CWPOA initially stated that the culvert failures were actually part of a two year plan, they have now chosen to engage engineers at great additional expense to explore the solution that should have been done in the first place. The initial culvert replacement cost of $14,000+ is now a total loss. Redoing the culverts will cost more than if they had been done correctly in the first place. With a RMD, the engineers are already on staff, available to the RMD at no additional cost, and we don’t have to fund additional engineering. The job gets done right the first time.
Assessments are the other major issue. The CWPOA has no mechanism to address collecting assessments. While each resident receives a bill each year that is marked as MANDATORY, the CWPOA has no legal right or binding authority to collect the assessment. Road assessments are completely voluntary and some of the residents choose not to pay. There are currently approximately 30 accounts that are past due, some with overdue amounts in the thousands of dollars, which will probably never be collected. This means that the parcel owners who are trying to do the right thing and keep the roads maintained are paying for freeloaders. As more parcel owners consider the issues between those who pay and those who don’t, they may choose to not pay for the freeloaders. Then the CWPOA has no choice but to raise assessments to ensure that the few that pay support the many that choose to freeload. We have seen this already with the recent major increase.
Why do we need a RMD? Why can’t the Cascadel Woods Property Owners Association continue to maintain the roads?
As already stated, the CWPOA has major hurtles to overcome to become an efficient and cost effective road maintenance provider. The benefits of a road maintenance district are clear, including lower cost, better work, economy of scale and complete removal of liability from the CWPOA and parcel owners. What the CWPOA is not sharing with the parcel owners is that by performing work on a public road, the CWPOA assumes public liability for any issues arising from that repair. This means that we face significantly increased insurance costs by continuing to use the CWPOA to maintain roads.
While the CWPOA could continue to maintain the roads in Cascadel, they must comply with county and state requirements. This includes obtaining encroachment and other permits, submitting detailed engineering drawings, obtaining inspections of the work, and complying with other California regulators, such as Fish and Game and Federal rules as well. The question is, do we really want to be in the road business? Most public roads in Madera County are already maintained by the Madera County Road Dept for obvious reasons.
RMD – Qualified Professionals, Capacity, Economy of Scale
The Madera County Road Department has engineers and inspectors already on staff and their time is included in RMD repairs at no additional cost. The county is not required to obtain encroachment permits and has annual permits in place that cover maintenance work. All administrative overhead for collection and accounting is also included at no charge to the district.
So the primary benefits from creating a RMD include qualified professionals, much lower cost, all of our money goes to roads, we get better roads, higher efficiency, no collection issues, and full release of liability. Cascadel Heights has a maintenance district and they are very happy with it. Just ask them.
How Much Is It Going to Cost?
The proposed base assessment for the RMD is $151 per year and we have a proposed expenditure plan for assessments for the next 20 years as presented in the Assessment Engineer’s Report distributed to you on 11/9/12. In 20 years, a RMD will be assessing the same amount that the CWPOA collects now. The current cost through the CWPOA is $200. We save $49 per year with a RMD and will have a more competent level of service.
In addition, the cost of major repairs or improvements can be supplemented by using Madera County Measure T money which can cover 50% of the total cost. This amounts to doubling our road money. Measure T is available for any project that is not routine maintenance. For example, paving, crack sealing (see Cascadel Heights MD 97), base failure repairs, bridge improvements, culvert replacements and so on. The CWPOA is not eligible for these funds.
Measure T doubles the funds available for major repairs or capital improvements. Measure T funds can be used for road maintenance projects. The CWPOA has maintained that Measure T funds are available only for new construction. This is not the case. Paving, bridge rehabilitation, crack sealing, and surface failure are all projects that we can do doubling our funds with matching Measure T money. Cascadel Heights recently obtained a 50% match for their crack sealing and fog coating project.
Why can’t we just keep things the same?
We don’t have the option of continuing to do work on the roads informally. Recent court actions have prompted Madera County to take responsibility for ensuring that public roads are maintained legally. This is not a capricious decision by Madera County staff to single out Cascadel. Madera County staff must enforce compliance to existing regulations on all public roads.
Is this a fair solution?
Since currently the payment of road maintenance fees collected by the CWPOA is optional, many of the parcel owners don’t pay for maintenance or snow removal and get a free ride (which of course must be paid by the rest of us). There is no guarantee going forward that any property owners will continue to pay the voluntary assessments. A RMD is fair, everyone pays based on the benefit they receive, and everyone who pays derives benefit. Funds are collected by Madera County in an equitable manner on our tax bills and everyone pays their fair share. Each parcel in the RMD is assessed based on the benefit they receive. Parcels without improvements pay only 50% of the assessment.
As we look forward, it is clear that the CWPOA is not a sustainable way to maintain our roads. In fact, all of the major repairs to Cascadel roads in the last 20 years were funded by the Cascadel Mutual Water Company, not the CWPOA. Given the level of service we have received over the years, after spending $434,000 since 1997, we can only look forward to continued deterioration of our roads with the consequent loss in property values, insurance challenges, and difficulty in selling our homes.
If we approve a RMD, won’t Madera County just raise our assessments later?
No, they cannot do this. Some of the most disturbing misrepresentations are about the future fee schedule. Madera County has provided a fee schedule that covers the next 20 years. It includes a modest consumer price index increase based on national averages. Any changes to this fee schedule would have to be approved by a vote of the parcel owners in the RMD as required by California State Proposition 218. Only the parcel owners can change the assessment amount.
This means that the parcel owners control the assessment. The assessment cannot be changed without authorization of the parcel owners in the RMD as provided by the law. Madera County does not control the assessment. Madera County staff makes recommendations for how we assess ourselves, but we decide how much we pay. The county does require the assessment be viable and sustainable. $151 per developed parcel in Cascadel is viable. Some residents were concerned about higher costs. The proposed $151 per home is very attractive, affordable and much lower than what we pay now. This is possible because all of the funds will actually go to road maintenance.
Recently the CWPOA suggested that our RMD assessment could increase or an increase had already been proposed. This is another misstatement of the actual facts. County staff may suggest that some important repairs, like fixing the failed culverts or reinforcing our bridge, should be given a higher priority, but they can not change our assessment.
Am I giving up local control of how our local roads are maintained?
No. Madera County will recognize a permanent steering committee comprised of members of the RMD to let the county know where problem areas are located and advocate our community priorities. The members of the steering committee will be elected by the community. The county special districts manager will represent the county on the committee in an advisory capacity. The Madera County representative will not have a committee vote.
The parcel owners have complete control over the RMD. Every parcel has a voice. The elected RMD steering committee will work with Madera County staff to make recommendations on projects and operation. No assessments will be changed without a vote of the parcel owners. This is in stark contrast with the recent changes and increase to assessments by the CWPOA in which no member was afforded a vote or input. The CWPOA board does not ask for any input on road maintenance. A RMD steering committee would actually be more responsive to parcel owners than the CWPOA is.
Can’t our existing property owner’s association do the job cheaper?
This is another area in which, after looking at the facts, the statements made by the CWPOA fail the test of fact. In most cases, when the cost of obtaining permits, engineering documents, and inspections is taken into consideration, a RMD is much cheaper than doing it ourselves. A contractor hired by the property owners expects to make a profit, the RMD only recovers costs. There is no overhead penalty with a RMD. In the past, the difficulty of getting small jobs performed in Cascadel has either been costly or resulted in poor quality. Mostly, the CWPOA has done its best to provide a high quality of service, but it is not well suited to be the mechanism by which roads are maintained.
Madera County has equipment and workers staged in the North Fork area. In most cases, the RMD would provide better service for less money. In our investigation, we found that Madera County was either cheaper or when there was a true item to item comparison, no more expensive than private contractors for the types of work needed in Cascadel. We can see the result of poor decision making with the work that is being done on the culverts, twice. We will end up paying much more for culvert repairs than it would have cost doing the job right the first time. The Madera County Road Dept has more capacity, more resources, and more experience with road maintenance. They are trained professionals.
If we look at the quality of repairs performed over the last 15 years, we can see that the repairs have not been coordinated and some very important areas have not been addressed. The Whiskey Creek bridge requires reinforcement today. Those modest repairs can prevent a significant future cost. Madera County engineers quickly provided a cost effective solution. With a RMD, Measure T will cut those costs in half. The CWPOA was completely unaware of the issues or how to address them.
Instead, the CWPOA proposed an expensive, impractical and unsightly bridge at the existing low water crossing on Whiskey Creek to replace a functional weir. The CWPOA also asked Madera County to provide prices for paving our existing dirt road. These two projects are both very expensive and not in the RMD Engineer’s Report. When this came up in our public meetings, the CWPOA did not step up and take responsibility for making the suggestions, but rather allowed parcel owners to assume that Madera County or others had made the recommendations. This casts doubt on the ability or desire of the CWPOA to fully disclose issues to the parcel owners in Cascadel.
If we form a RMD won’t we have to disband the Cascadel Woods Property Association?
This is not true. We currently pay $30 per year for association assessment to the CWPOA. We have been told “dues” were to cover CWPOA overhead costs. We save $49 per year by forming a RMD. The CWPOA has stated that they need 20% of the road assessment for overhead, staff, taxes, and director insurance. This is $40 per year of the current $200 road assessment. The CWPOA can raise the current association assessment to $70 per year and parcel owners still save $9 per year.
There are many good examples of a Property Owner’s Association and a RMD coexisting. One of the best locally is the Bass Lake Property Owner’s Association. It is completely voluntary and well funded by many of the local residents because it adds value to their property. A CWPOA that adds value to Cascadel will likely be supported by the parcel owners.
However, stating that it is essential to reallocate funds collected to maintain roads to support the CWPOA is troubling. Why not just ask residents to fund the CWPOA at the required level? It is not right to state that an assessment is mandatory and for road maintenance, and then use it for something that is not road related. It is difficult to understand the logic in stating that the association must collect road maintenance monies, then reallocate them to other purposes and that they can’t operate unless they continue to do so.
What if people don’t join the CWPOA when the assessment is raised?
Membership in the CWPOA is voluntary. Paying road maintenance assessments to the CWPOA is also voluntary. Why would parcel owners abandon the CWPOA if they pay less? Again, it is about delivering value for the money. Removing an open fund of 70+% of the road assessment would force the CWPOA to focus on delivering value to the community. How would that be a burden for the CWPOA? Being free of road maintenance will actually be of great benefit to the CWPOA, and a great relief.
Can we still remove snow from our roads? Won’t service suffer under a RMD?
Just as was proposed in 2009, the CWPOA can still remove snow from our roads with a RMD. They will have to comply with Madera County regulations for performing snow removal services on a public road. The CWPOA will have to provide insurance for performing work within the public right of way, have multiple drivers so that no one works over 12 hours without time off, ensure that the snowplow and drivers meet safety requirements, operate under a contractor’s license, and obtain an encroachment permit. Nearly all public entities require private contractors that remove snow to comply with these requirements. This is just good common sense.
The County of Madera has required that the CWPOA cease plowing until these requirements are met. The County has waived several requirements, temporarily, including permit fees. However, the CWPOA has refused to obtain the encroachment permit, promising to not plow the roads in the event of snow. The CWPOA is claiming the county is stopping them from plowing. This is not the case.
Madera County has been very accommodating in solving this issue, up to stating that Madera County would plow the roads in an emergency condition to ensure the safety of the residents if the CWPOA refused to obtain permits and remove snow. Madera County is not preventing the CWPOA from delivering services. The actions thus far by the CWPOA do not appear to indicate a desire on the part of the CWPOA to provide the best possible service, but rather hold snow removal hostage in hopes of defeating a RMD. All the CWPOA has to do is obtain the no-fee encroachment permit, operate a safe snowplow, and provide sufficient insurance. The CWPOA is spending thousands in attorney fees of our road money to fight the county and stop the 218 vote.
The CWPOA has also misstated the actual operation cost of snow removal in a RMD. The snow removal budget is completely flexible nominally suggested at $5,000 per year. If it is a light snow year, money can either be carried over to the next year or spent on other road repairs. In a heavy snow year, more money can be put toward the snow removal budget to ensure that roads are kept passable. The entire annual assessment is completely flexible, even money for reserves can be used if needed. This does not affect our assessment. All monies are held on account exclusively for our district.
The CWPOA has stated that they can plow the roads for $50 per hour, comply with Madera County requirements and cover equipement maintenance. If this is accurate, then we don’t have a snow removal issue with the CWPOA. The CWPOA can remove snow under contract with the RMD and the planned $5,000 budget would provide 100 hours per year for snow removal, more than the 4 year average of 92 hours per year.
In our investigations to date, there are many options available to the community to achieve the level of snow removal that is desired. We can use the county crews, contract with the CWPOA, contract with another contractor to operate our existing plow, or contract with an existing contractor to do all of the work. Or any combination of these. We have multiple options with a RMD.
Currently we have one plow and one driver. If either is unavailable, snow doesn’t get removed. With a RMD, we can use our current plow, but have additional equipment and drivers available locally in North Fork if the need arises.
Isn’t this a power play by Madera County to take over our roads and get our money?
No. The county is already the road authority for all public roads, including Cascadel. All funds collected by Madera County through the RMD go into an account separate from the General Fund. Our money is not used for anything other than Cascadel road repairs. We also get the interest on the funds right back into our account. Contrary to statements by the CWPOA, there is no administration fee for regular ongoing maintenance. We have some good examples of how Madera County operates by looking at our own County Service Area. We have protected our open space in Cascadel by working with Madera County. They have not raised our fees, kept us from exercising local control, or plotted to take over our homes. Statements to the contrary are not based in reality, but appear to be used to create a climate of fear about a RMD.
We can also look at other Road Maintenance Districts throughout Madera County. For example, there is one right here by us, Cascadel Heights MD 97 formed in the nineties. In our discussions with other RMD members, they all expressed satisfaction with the operation of their RMD. In no discussions did we find residents that were unhappy with the Madera County staff, quality of repairs, or snow removal. This speaks volumes about the dedication and commitment of Madera County staff to maintain a high standard of service.
We also spoke with other community members that suggested that there were additional benefits to a RMD. The principal advantage is preservation of our property values. A community with a defined RMD and quality road maintenance has homes that hold value and are easier to sell. Insurance costs can go down. Many realtors stay away from homes in areas that don’t have a RMD.
We didn’t start this report or agree to serve on the interim steering committee in order to pick a fight with anyone or realize any personal gain. We recognize that reasonable people can differ on a subject and still remain reasonable, as well as good neighbors. It has been gratifying that, overall, the community has been respectful of each other’s opinions. The proposed RMD presents us all with a great opportunity to secure a permanent, safe and equitable solution to our road challenges in Cascadel. Providing safe and continuous access to our properties is critical for fire safety and to maintain, and even increase, our property values. There is also the positive effect of reducing the difficulties in obtaining or retaining homeowner’s insurance.
We do believe that it is important for everyone to be able to make an informed decision about what is in their best interest. If we don’t decide to establish a RMD, we must consider how we move forward to maintain our roads. We don’t have many choices. We can’t establish CC&R’s – that would require a 100% yes vote and that is clearly impossible. We can’t continue business as usual with voluntary contributions and an outrageous overhead and expect to have roads that are sustainable.
We urge everyone to look at a RMD as a mechanism that we can customize to keep the best parts of Cascadel and remedy the parts that don’t work well. This is not an issue about personalities or process, but rather a mechanism to allow Cascadel to solve the serious problems that we face. While we acknowledge that the CWPOA has tried to address these issues in the past, their record in delivering sustainable solutions is not good. It is not because we don’t have good people trying to solve the issues, but rather because the problems don’t lend themselves to a voluntary solution.
We currently have an opportunity to work with Madera County to design the type of road maintenance that we want. Madera County officials have been very willing to customize a RMD to meet the particular needs of Cascadel and to preserve the special nature of our community. We hope that we can all focus on what is in the best interests for individual parcel owners and our community when we cast our vote.
We hold no animosity toward anyone or the CWPOA. We have delayed this report in order to carefully consider the statements already made by the CWPOA. We believe that continuing to attempt to maintain our roads on a voluntary basis is very risky and given the alternatives available today, doesn’t make sense. Please give the proposed road maintenance district an honest assessment and make your decision accordingly.
CWPOA and RMD Comparison
|Issue||CWPOA||CWPOA Cost||RMD||RMD Cost|
|Voting||Must Pay Road Fees PLUS $30 Dues to Vote.||Administration cost to collect fees/dues.||All Parcels Vote||No additional cost|
|Yearly assessment||Optional, not everyone assessed||$200 per year for homes, $100 for lots.||Required, all affected parcels assessed.||$151 per year per developed parcel ($49 less), $76 for lots ($24 less), all parcels assessed. 20 year schedule.|
|Tax implications||Not deductable since CWPOA is private association.||Fully deductable as a Madera County Tax.|
|Permits and Engineering for repairs||Encroachment permits required for CWPOA||Permit plus cost of plans approved by a Licensed Engineer||Madera County does not need encroachment permits, engineering built in for repairs||No additional cost – existing Madera County taxes funds County staff|
|Other agencies||Must coordinate activities with Fish and Game and California Water Resources||Cost of staff time to provide oversight and coordination with agencies.||Included in RMD administration||No additional cost. County has inter-agency relationships.|
|Administrative Decision Making||All decisions made by CWPOA board elected by “members” who paid to vote.||Engineering, consulting input and costs would be required for repairs and projects.||Community elected steering committee from all parcel owners working with Road Department Staff to advise Board of Supervisors||No additional cost. Typically less than 1% overhead for new construction.|
|Administrative overhead||Overhead for director and liability insurance, employee taxes, plus funds diverted for other non-road projects.||overall – 73%||Insurance, admin overhead, etc are included in base assessment and no funds will be shared or used outside of Cascadel RMD.||No additional cost.|
|Issue||CWPOA||CWPOA Cost||RMD||RMD Cost|
|Project Costs||Consulting, Permits, Engineering, Employee getting bids, coordinating, supervising, etc.||All costs extra.||Insurance, permits, design and engineering, supervision and project coordination.||No additional cost for road maintenance improvements. Typically less than 1% of project cost for construction of new facilities.|
|Snow removal||One truck.||Cost varies annually dependent on weather.||Fleet of equipment available.||Cost varies annually dependent on weather.|
|Snow removal schedule||On demand as determined by CWPOA||On demand as determined by RMD steering committee|
|Snow Plow equipment||Only one plow available.||Maintenance and replacement cost additional.||Madera County fleet based in North Fork and contractor in addition to Cascadel plow.||County fleet maintenance and replacement at no cost to district.|
|CWPOA funding||Would end optional $200 road assessment, but would allow for an additional $49 CWPOA voluntary assessment and keep overall costs to parcel owners the same.||$200 per year per parcel, half that for lots, not all parcels assessed.||Would not affect the CWPOA, but would allow for an additional $49 CWPOA voluntary assessment and keep overall costs the same.||$151 per year per developed parcel ($49 less), $76 for lots ($24 less), all parcels assessed. Savings could be used for association dues for those willing.|
These are some of the comments we received from residents outside Cascadel that have experience with membership in road maintenance districts.
“When the school district would not pick up children on our roads due to safety concerns for the road condition, we met with the Madera County Road Commissioner. We opted to form a Road Maintenance District and have Madera County supervise our road repairs. It was painless and we now have well maintained roads. What could be better?”
- Steve Gabbard, Oakhurst
“As a Realtor who works primarily with Buyers, I can state unequivocally that most Buyers prefer to buy in an area that has an RMD in place over one that is run either formally or informally by neighbors. On a number of occasions I have had clients choose not to pursue a sale because they were nervous about the COST, the ORGANIZATION, and the potential LIABILITY associated with a private road maintenance agreement or informal maintenance. They were also nervous about the potential for variable pricing, as well as unknown and sudden big expenses that might arise if a road or culvert washed out or someone was hurt or property damaged due to road maintenance work that was done or not done as it should be. Not to mention the potential for hassles or disagreements with neighbors. A RMD provides a homeowner (and therefore potential Buyers) with a known yearly fee and peace of mind knowing that the work will be done by the county, and the county will be responsible for all liability for any potential suits or damages, and they won’t have to get into it with their neighbors if there are disagreements about what and how roads should be maintained, or whose turn it is to get the work done. I can’t say how much an RMD is actually worth to property values, but I believe that it increases the value at least a bit, and certainly makes a property easier to sell.”
- Kirsten Englund, Bass Lake
“Bass Lake roads are not RMD as such. We are a Special Road Assessment District. This assessment district has been in effect since 1989. It works extremely well, we have our roads maintained by the County crews and the County watches over our finances. Our maintenance needs and our finances so far are balancing out great. Hope this helps.”
- Don Weaver, Bass Lake
“With respect to county road maintenance, fire insurance rates are based on ‘protection classes.’ The higher the protection class, the higher the fire rate, as the general opinion is the farther away from services like fire and police that you are, the higher the likelihood of total loss in the event of a claim. Making access easier for responders generally lowers the fire rate and increases the likelihood of obtaining or retaining a policy. Safe access is also extremely important with regard to medical issues. Access is key. County road maintenance districts may be seen as a hazard reduction by some carriers, definitely as a positive in any case. Yes, county maintenance rather than private maintenance carries more weight with the carrier.”
- Pam Isonio of Valley Regional Insurance, CWPOA insurance agent
The County “Engineer’s Analysis”
The Engineer’s Report is the document that becomes the district “initial report”, the recorded document that describes our district and has “what we pay for what we get”.
|Has legal authority to collect road assessments.||YES||no||After the 218 ballots go out and are counted, if the district assessment does not have a majority opposing, the county will collect all road fees for our road district on our property tax bill. All monies go to roads. All monies are in a managed interest bearing account administered by the county auditor/controller, AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO US, just like the service area funds are collected and held. Every road district parcel that derives benefit pays, and also gets to vote. Fees cannot be changed without a vote. CWPOA on the other hand is collecting voluntary road fees claiming they are mandatory without authority. Thus, NOT everyone pays and our fees can be increased at the pleasure of the CWPOA board, and were, as you know when they were raised 42% without a vote. Under the CWPOA, not every parcel gets to vote even when there are votes held. Our monies are “managed” at our expense MANAGEMENT THAT COSTS US ROAD MONEY, and are NOT used solely for roads. According to the recently resigned CWPOA Treasurer the CWPOA board uses a minimum $10,000 dollars per year of road money for corporate overhead. With a road district, 100% of road money goes to roads. The one exception is new construction, where projects can incur a 1% administration charge.|
|Authorized to do road work.||YES||no||The county can work on all public roadways. The CWPOA is not authorized to work on public roadways.|
|If the Plow Breaks Down, Plowing Continues at No Additional Cost||YES||no||The county has a fleet of plowing equipment available to the district at all times. CWPOA has one snowplow truck. When it breaks, rental or replacement costs extra.|
|In Blizzard Conditions, Larger Equipment is Readily Available||YES||no||The county has large trucks capable of moving much more snow than a snowplow truck can.|
|Multiple Snow Removal Implements are Available||YES||no||The county is constantly improving its snowplowing equipment type and availability and will continue to do so.|
|Much Larger and Effective Road Sanding Capacity||YES||no||CWPOA tailgate sander is inferior at best.|
|Snow Removal Equipment Maintained and Replaced at No Additional Cost||YES||no||All equipment maintenance and replacement cost is built into the county fleet overhead covered by the Road Dept. CWPOA can’t compare. This is the economy of scale and public benefit only a road maintenance district will bring us.|
|Plowing Coordinated with Main Roads at No Additional Cost||YES||no||This potentially eliminates venturing out in extremely dangerous conditions. Cascadel Heights already benefits from this.|
|Multiple Plowing Options with Back Up at No Additional Cost||YES||no||With an RMD there are multiple viable options for snowplowing. For example, the county provides plowing as in Cascadel Heights, OR we can provide our own with a CWPOA board willing to do what it takes, OR we can contract with another vendor, OR a mix of all of the above or a variation.|
|Local, State, Federal Permits at No Additional Cost||YES||no||With an RMD permitting is built in at NO additional cost to us. The CWPOA must meet all permit requirements for all activities on public right of way and waterways that costs us more.|
|Experienced Project Staff Engineers, Inspections, Supervision at No Additional Cost||YES||no||All trained experienced professional staff management and overhead is built in as part of the overall county function. Economy of scale and public benefit again. CWPOA has to fund everything from paperclips to phone bills off our road money. With a district, we get overhead costs covered for free.|
|Experienced, Trained, Certified Road Maintenance Professionals at No Additional Cost||YES||no||All county road crews are trained professionals who do nothing but road maintenance day in and day out and will be available to our district at no additional cost. CWPOA adds an extra layer of overhead, and then does not have the expertise or capacity to deliver, without hiring outside experts at additional cost. Example: the $14,000+ culvert debacle that is a total loss to us, and leaves the roads far worse off than they were. The culverts were incompetently installed, and subsequently failed completely, due to incompetent management. With a district, professionals who handle bridges and major projects like Rd 200, every day, will handle our projects, big and small. They get done right the first time AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO US.|
|Experienced Unlimited Capacity at No Additional Cost||YES||no||County capacity is virtually unlimited bringing to bear great economy of scale for Cascadel.|
|Double Your Money with Measure T||YES||no||Projects qualify for Measure T that exceed routine annual maintenance. Example, snowplowing would not qualify, paving would. CWPOA can’t touch the power of Measure T and keep misleading.|
|Pursue Bridge Replacement, Road, Watershed Mitigation and other Government Grants at No Additional Cost||YES||no||Again, the built in staff overhead being absorbed by the county at large brings to bear great leverage for pursuing other funding opportunities without incurring any extra costs. For example, Cedar Valley replaced a bridge with 80% matched by outside funding. Cedar Valley is a road maintenance district.|
|Road Assessment Cost Lower and Equitable||YES||no||151 beats 200, and way more actual dollars go to our roads even at that reduced rate.|
|Money Held in Road Only Account Untouchable for Anything Else, at No Additional Cost||YES||no||All our road money stays in our managed account earning interest. The accounting and management costs us nothing, much like the service area. CWPOA charges us to manage the funds they collect.|
|Overhead Cost for Any Needed Project Supervision included at No Additional Cost||YES||no||Overhead costs us every time a phone call is made, a contractor is met, a bid is examined, a bid is accepted. With the county, there are no extra charges for these services.|
|All Road Maintenance Money Goes To Roads||YES||no||Other than large capital improvement (1/2 to 1% admin fee), literally every dime of road money goes to actual road work, not overhead, not administration, not payroll, not insurance, not any non-road purpose.|
|CPI Adjustment Built in at No Additional Cost||YES||no||As a viable district, Consumer Price Index increase is built in so the district remains viable over the long haul. Sometimes it goes slightly up, sometimes it goes slightly down.|
|All Unused Funds Held in Reserve Account, Earning interest, Every Penny Accounted for, and Managed at No Additional Cost||YES||no||No money leaks or bleeds away. Every road dollar is accounted for, again, the accounting of which costs us NOTHING, unlike now.|
|Unlimited Emergency Capacity||YES||no||The county can and does respond to major emergencies fact, effectively and efficiently. We simply do not have that capacity with the CWPOA. If a tree falls we cut it out like we always do. You don’t need a corporation and corporate employees to be good neighbors.|
|Vote Of All Parcels Required To Raise Fees||YES||no||Every parcel must vote to approve any increase in assessment, unlike now. For example, our rates went up 42% without so much as notification.|
|All Parcels Get To Vote at No Additional Cost||YES||no||Every parcel is entitled to vote, unlike now.|
|Road Work Guaranteed||YES||no||All county work is guaranteed or it will be redone at no additional cost.|
|Every Benefited Parcel Must Pay Their Share, Collected at No Additional Cost||YES||no||All parcels pay their share on their tax bill. No deadbeats.|
|Unlimited inter-Agency Government Resources at No Additional Cost||YES||no||The county has contacts of all kinds with other agencies and other resources that can be brought to bear. CWPOA does not.|
|Qualified, Certified and Trained Professionals Administer The District at No Additional Cost||YES||no||Oversight is by trained professionals at no additional cost to us, at all times. Currently, our oversight is sorely lacking, as exemplified by the recent culvert replacement debacle that has to be completely redone.|
|We’re Just Like Everywhere Else at No Additional Cost, in Fact at Less Cost!||YES||no||With a district, regarding roads Cascadel will at last have a viable, permanent, fair and professional solution reasonably priced, in fact priced much lower than now.|
|Who Is Liable for Cascadel’s Roads? with An Rmd The County, with Cwpoa We Are! and History Has Shown How That Works Out…||YES||no||LIABILITY IS GONE. With a district no longer are we residents liable for Cascadel’s road system or the Board’s missteps regarding roads, such as the culverts. The CWPOA will be freed of road liability and will no longer need to usurp county responsibility.|
October 9, 2012 County Letter
We are currently at Step 2 and will be until 12/1/12. This is the “Engineer’s Analysis” or “report” step, which, despite the big name, for a road district really means what we get for what we pay. Steps 3, 4, and 5 are combined for Road Maintenance District formations, as opposed to more complexity when a LAFCO governed special district. According to the county, the flowchart is based on special districts. An RMD is much simpler.
For example, ongoing maintenance and snowplowing could viably cost us $100 per parcel per year, that remains to be seen. But we might not get much paving very quickly at that rate. So after we see how much work we can get for how much assessment in the report delivered on 11/2/12, we choose the level of service we want. $150 per year per parcel ($27,150 assuming we have 181 APNs) is probably a good example of a decent amount to work with allowing for some paving over time in addition to ongoing maintenance. That ~27k could be doubled to ~54k with Measure T as well.
Overwhelmingly all parcels agree that all roads should be maintained the way they are, dirt stays dirt, paved stays paved, repaved as budgets allow. That’s what we asked the county to analyze and that’s what they’ve provided. Any big ticket items like the bridge deck would fall under possible future special assessments but are not needed or recommended at this time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Will the county make us expand our roads?
A. No. All of our roads can be maintained with “as is” dimensions and road surfaces.
Q. Will our RMD have to upgrade roads for residents doing new construction?
A. No. Any road improvements required for new construction are the sole responsibility of the owner doing the construction.
Q. Can we choose the snowplow service?
A. Yes. After we have a district the county or their contractor plows. We can choose the contractor.
Q. How does Measure T work?
A. Both maintenance and operations (ops) and capital improvements are eligible for Measure T funds matched dollar for dollar. (Double our money.) While there is no sign or indication of this stopping, the risk of a system change/modification is always present. Measure T is dependent on sales tax, the more goods people purchase the more Measure T grows. At the same time the more Maintenance Districts that apply for Measure T monies, the more competition there will be for funding. In the meantime, the Districts with adequate assessment and funding are taking advantage of the program right now, today. We can too.
Q. What will our assessment be?
A. We can viably fund at our current assessment or less. We choose the “level of service” we desire which basically boils down to how fast we want to repair and repave our roads. REMEMBER 100% OF OUR ROAD MONEY GOES TO ON THE GROUND MAINTENANCE AND OPS. Only “Capital Improvement Projects” (CIPs mean construction of new stuff, so we probably won’t have any except maybe new culverts somewhere if needed) incur an administration fee, and then typically only 1% or less, usually around 1/2%. This means that we can assess at substantially less and have the same amount of dollars available, BEFORE Measure T potentially doubles our money. Let’s wait for some numbers from the county before we set ourselves on a dollar amount.
Q. How can I get more information and express my views?
A. Contact with parcel owners to provide information and updates and to gather parcel owner input continues. Mark Stamas (firstname.lastname@example.org) is handling parcel owners on Autumn Ridge Way, Cascadel Road, Cascadel Drive, Waterfall Way, Gertrude Creek Drive; Marie Iden (email@example.com) for Loma Linda, Vista Drive, Hillcrest Road; Roger Tucker (firstname.lastname@example.org) for Cascadel Drive North, Cascadel Lane and Cascadel Drive South. Of course, you may contact any committee member you like as well as the county’s Phil Toler at 675-7811 <email@example.com>.
October County Update
* We Are Moving Forward! *