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Public Hearing On Greenhorn Creek Assessments

Angels Camp, CA – Anticipating public weigh in over Greenhorn Creek landscaping and lighting district issues, the City of Angels Camp City Council will host part of its meeting at Bret Harte High School.

The council will initially convene Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at the firehouse (1404 Vallecito Road), its customary meeting place, for a budget workshop and closed session. During the latter, the council will continue to negotiate over labor agreements for the next fiscal year as well as to confer with legal counsel over its ongoing case filed by a group of Greenhorn Creek residents over disputed usage of landscape and lighting district funds.

Following the closed session, the meeting will transition to the high school theater (323 South Main St.) and open to the public at 6 p.m. At the top of the council’s regular agenda is a public hearing over the final engineer’s report from SCI Consulting. The report provides legal and mathematical analyses and rationale for continuing the city’s collection of the Greenhorn Creek landscape and lighting district assessments, calculated at $293.17 per family dwelling this next fiscal year. The assessment totals $178,532, which represents about an eight percent increase from last year’s total.

General vs. Special Benefit

The formulas used to make the assessments calculate the percentage of general public benefit, versus special benefit that district residents might enjoy and profit through increased property values from maintenance and improvement projects. Among the findings factored in: that members of the public enjoying the district’s lands are largely non-resident golfers, which also comprise approximately half of the golf course users; that nonresident nighttime drivers additionally benefit from lighting improvements within the district; and that owners of adjacent properties outside the district enjoy improved views as a result of district landscape work.

According to the report, assessment collection monies, collected like and at the same time as county property taxes would funnel directly into the district’s fund, reserved for the sole use of district maintenance, servicing, construction or improvements, as specifically outlined therein through tables and a diagram. Estimated landscaping costs for the next fiscal year are listed as $93,500; hardscape and other costs, $207,023.34; cultural areas, wildlife corridor and utilities and administrative costs, at $57,414.90.

The Greenhorn Creek landscape and lighting district formed two decades ago as a specific contractual requirement of the area’s development agreement. While the original assessment was set at $180 per single-family dwelling, subsequent balloting in 1999 capped the maximum assessment at $300. The city accepted all the development’s public roads and adjacent parking areas into its system in 2009 and subsequent arguments ensued regarding use of district funds on improvement projects thought to be more for public benefit than for district residents.

In a related agenda item, the council will address authorizing a loan of $146,928 from the city water operations and maintenance fund to cover the district’s wetlands maintenance and tertiary water projects, the latter of which would be used to irrigate the median along Greenhorn Creek Drive.

Staff Reports

Among staff report notes, the city is seeking another vendor to produce the sidewalk placques that commemorate the annual Calaveras County Fair’s Frog Jump winners, as the current vendor, now working on the 2015 disc, will be retiring.

The city fire department and planning director have met with Engineer Dave Sawrbrick twice on plans for the Utica Hotel renovation and discussed site plan review for the Mark Twain Medical Clinic, and staff has prepared the environmental contract for the latter project.

Engineering and public works staff are working on locating two bus station shelters, to be tentatively located near the Chicken Barn restaurant and Copello Drive.

Tentative plans are in the works for local police, fire and staff from Mark Twain Elementary and Bret Harte High School to attend crisis management training for school-based incidents sometime over Christmas break. Chief Fordahl recently secured the opportunity through an application made through the Rural Domestic Training Consortium and staff hopes to expand the scope of the tuition-free training to include CERT team members, EMS staff, and others.