Wilton Action Group to Elk Grove City Council: STOP THE WASTEFUL SPENDING

The current economic downturn has taken its toll on the City of Elk Grove. The City’s budget is tight. Many important city services have be...

The current economic downturn has taken its toll on the City of Elk Grove. The City’s budget is tight. Many important city services have been cut. Yet, the City Council is about to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on an effort to expand the City’s sphere of influence (SOI) into the Cosumnes River floodplain South-East of the City.

A sphere of influence defines the area outside the City’s current borders that the City believes will be needed to support future growth. Inclusion of the floodplain in the City’s SOI is unnecessary to meet these needs.

More importantly, this action is generating substantial local, regional, statewide and even national concern because the Cosumnes River is the only undammed river on the west side of the Sierras and its floodplain supports a unique ecosystem that provides habitat for a wide variety of fish and wildlife species including those currently threatened with extinction. As a result, the environmental review process required as part of the SOI expansion program will be lengthy, expensive, and may not even be successfully completed.

What’s Going On?

So why is the Council considering this action? Because they don’t want to disappoint a handful of landowners who own large parcels of land that extend from Grant Line Road to the Cosumnes River. Significant portions of these parcels are in the floodplain.

Some of these owners want all of this land to be annexed into the City because they think the City will be more likely to support their development plans. They have pushed the Council to include the floodplain in the City’s SOI expansion program and the resulting increase in program costs to the citizens of Elk Grove.

What is the alternative?

The City Council could take at least two steps that would minimize the concerns raised by the SOI expansion and reduce the costs associated with the environmental review process. First, the Council could limit the expansion area to the lands south and east of the City that are outside the floodplain. These lands are more than ample to meet the City’s long-term planning needs under any reasonable analysis.

Second, the Council could negotiate an agreement with the County of Sacramento that protects the floodplain and provides assurances to the landowners that the City and County will cooperate in addressing their development interests.

Due to the current economic situation, the Council is requiring all programs to take these kinds of steps to reduce spending and meet the requirements of the City’s budget. City staff refers to this process as “right sizing."

The most recent example is the Council’s decision to restructure e-Tran services, increasing the cost of monthly passes, cutting commute services, and completely eliminating week-end and holiday services that many of the City’s disabled residents rely on.

Why shouldn’t the SOI expansion program be similarly managed to cut costs instead of skewing the program to benefit a small number of landowners at the expense of everyone else?

What Can You Do?

If you agree that the City should not waste money by expanding into the floodplain, please forward the attached e-mail to your City Council representative before August 26, 2009.

Mayor Pat Hume: phume@elkgrovecity.org 683-7111
Vice Mayor Sophia Scherman: sscherman@elkgrovecity.org 718-9631
Councilmember Jim Cooper: jcooper@elkgrovecity.org 683-7111
Councilmember Gary Davis: gdavis@elkgrovecity.org 683-7111
Councilmember Steve Detrick: sdetrick@elkgrovecity.org 683-7111

You should also forward this to the LAFCo Commissioners through the Commission Clerk, Diane Thorpe, at her e-mail listed below.


(Prepared and distributed by the Wilton Action Group – [www.wiltonactiongroup.org])

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