JURUPA AVENUE EXTENSION: CAN SEWER FUNDS LEGALLY FINANCE A NEW PROJECT?

Posted: May 14, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Second phase extension of the Jurupa Avenue extension was unanimously passed by City Council at Tuesday’s council meeting.   According to Riverside Municipal Code, the monies from those funds can be used solely for the maintenance, operation, construction and reconstruction of existing sewer lines, and cannot be used for the construction of new local street sewers.  Is this project actually legal?  Or a misuse of taxpayer funds and a violation of Riverside Municipal Code?  That is the question.

UPDATE:  It’s hard to grasp how someone can rationalize violating laws enacted to protect the sanctity of taxpayer monies and their potential abuse by elected and appointed officials sworn to protect the interest of the taxpayer.  It appears it all started in 2003, whereby developer Chuck Cox gave the city a parcel of land next to the golf course by Riverside Municipal Airport in exchange for a piece of land called simply the Old Agricultural Park.  The Old Agricultural Park had evidently been contaminated from and old city sewer plant on or adjacent to the parcel.  In the real world, it would have been up to Chuck Cox, the developer, to pursue an environmental study to test for soil contamination during the negotiations. Regardless, Cox then planned to build homes on the Agricultural site.  It was then that city officials decided to tell Chuck Cox the land had been contaminated by an old city sewer plant.  Why would the city knowingly not tell the developer this bit of info prior to the original parcel swap.  It seems to me this would be a violation of the law to sell a parcel of land with foresight of it being contaminated?  As City Manager Brad Hudson explained the deal, the city and Cox agreed to swap responsibilities — Cox would handle cleanup at the agricultural park if the city would build part of the Jurupa Avenue extension.  See, if you built your own house, connecting your house to new utilities such as water, sewage and electricity would be at cost to you.  Smell the sewage yet?  Well it gets better. Councilman Steve Adams who’s has an extensive background and knowledge of the city, based on his comprehensive level of experience in public service as a career politician and police officer, must know municipal code and law.  Adams said the sewer funds to be used for the road extension would otherwise have gone toward the site cleanup.  How can that be, the clean-up is not the cities problem anymore, it is the developer!  Further, sewer funds cannot be used for road extension construction or cleanup, but the developer may have a case for fraud against the city, since the city admitted having prior knowledge of land contamination.  The real issue is the location and existence of the old city sewer plant, what kind of contamination occurred and did it really happen at all.  Regardless, Councilman Steve Adams may need a refresher on municipal code for the city of riverside.  But again, no one can use Sewer Funds for new sewer construction. 

UPDATE: 06/07/2011: Sources state that due to the Jurupa Avenue Extension, the Sewer Fund has been depleted.  In an inter-agency transfer, monies from Public Utilities Fund will replenish monies lost in the Sewer Fund.  But at some point, your utility bill will increase to replenish the Public Utilities monies lost.  Comments Welcomed!  Give Us Your Insight.  TMC investigates, stay connected, watch for updates.

Comments
  1. scott says:

    Questions abound!! Do they have a permit to re-construct a dam? Did they comply with ceqa?? State law requires special assessment districts be formed according to an analysis of which property owners (parcels) will be served by this improvement to infrastructure (sewer lines, undergrounding electrical lines, reclaimed water lines, new roadway). It is assumed that all benefitting parcels will receive a general benefit of a given calculated value. The special benefit is determined on a parcel by parcel basis, a calculation of project cost can then be apportioned to each property being bennefitted (including the city park). A vote of the property owners is held to see if they agree to pay their fair share. It is possible that development impact fees may be used for this project too.
    It does not appear that dedicated sewer account moneys for sewer replacement should be paying for new or improvement to the sewer or roadway and dam.

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