The Elk Grove City Council on Sept. 25 adopted a resolution authorizing three separate Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) between the city and local parks provider, the  Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD). These agreements focus on Elk Grove’s parks, trails and special events.

The MOUs will next be presented to the CSD board on Oct. 2 for approval.

Development of park, recreation facilities

One of the MOUs relate to a settlement agreement on the ownership, planning and construction of parks in Elk Grove.

Originally approved in 2007, that MOU was replaced in 2015, and expired in April.

The new agreement uses the basic framework of the previous MOU, which allows for the city to collect funds – mostly in the newer developed areas such as Laguna Ridge and the Southeast Policy Area. The city and CSD also collaborate on the design of parks, but the CSD is still in charge of the facilities’ designs and construction, and ultimately owns those new parks.

As for changes to that MOU, it has no expiration date, but can be cancelled within 30 days through a written notice from either party.

Park dedications in the Southeast Policy Area, Laguna Ridge and future annexation areas would be transferred directly to the CSD, rather than to the city and then the CSD.

This revised MOU would also eliminate the 2% administrative fee that was required to be paid to the city on new park projects.

Although this updated MOU does not specify a new park naming process, it is noted that the city and CSD will develop a system that will benefit both parties.

Landscape, trails, park maintenance

The council also supports a new Memorandum of Understanding, which would replace the 2010 landscape maintenance MOU and the 2011 trails maintenance MOU.

Accounting for rapid park expansion and continued growth of the city, this Memorandum of Understanding places a cap on administrative fees that are paid to the CSD.

The city would be billed by the CSD for staff and equipment for actual costs incurred for services, including medians. This is a change from the previous agreement, which involved a flat administrative fee.

During his presentation to the council, City Manager Jason Behrmann said that this MOU creates fairness.

“This provides a fair mechanism to pay (the CSD) for the services rendered in delivering those parks,” he said.

Special events

A new MOU applies to special events, which are provided by the city and the CSD throughout each year.

This MOU is designed to capitalize on the expertise and knowledge of these agencies, with a goal of maximizing the use of taxpayer funds through the coordination of public services.

Behrmann described the mutual support that would be utilized in city and CSD events and activities through this MOU.                                                                                                                                              “We share in the cost, we share in the recognition and we collaborate together on sponsoring and putting those events on in multiple ways,” he said.

Behrmann added that the old system is “kind of cumbersome,” because separate agreements are required for each activity or event.

“We think (the new system) will be more efficient, better use of staff time,” he said.

Recreations from the City Council

Elk Grove City Council Member Steve Detrick complimented the MOUs.

“I think this is a great opportunity for us,” he said. “I know that several years ago, when we moved into having CSD do all the city’s landscaping, it’s made a huge difference.

“The medians that we (were) responsible for, we would have a crew going down, let’s say Laguna (Boulevard), doing the median, and then the CSD would have a crew out there doing the landscape on the side of the street. So, it was kind of ridiculous.

“I think we’ve been able to save quite a bit of money by having it all under one umbrella.”

Behrmann described the three MOUs as providing “better ways” for the city to work together with the CSD.

“What we’ve done before and what, I think, we strengthened through these updated MOUs is just better ways of working together in order to preserve and making sure we’re not duplicating efforts, making sure we’re looking after taxpayer dollars, and working together in the best way possible,” he said.

Behrmann also praised the relationship between the city and the CSD.

“The relationship that we have with the CSD is really exemplary,” he said. “There aren’t a whole lot of cities and park/fire districts that have the type of working relationship that we have, that we collaborate on a lot, a host of different projects. I think a great example is the partnership we’ve had on the aquatics center.”

The CSD operates the aquatics center on behalf of the city, which owns the facility. The aquatics center opened four months ago, off Elk Grove Boulevard near the city’s future civic center.