The Sacramento County Grand Jury investigated local parks provider, the Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) for leaving Edie Macdonald Park unfinished for 22 years. Jurors did not find that the CSD violated laws, according to the jury’s 2018-19 report that was released on June 28.
They advised district officials to inform the public on how park construction is funded, and to also create a new accounting system that tracks how Quimby fees are collected and spent.
The CSD staff now has until Sept. 30 to issue a response to the Grand Jury.
“After several years of understandable frustration among the residents who live near this neighborhood park, we are pleased to have a solution in place to complete its construction,” CSD General Manager Joshua Green said in a press statement.
Last month, property owners who live near Macdonald Park voted to approve an increase in their annual park maintenance fees to complete the park’s construction and to restore its landscaping. The CSD staff plans to hold design workshops for the park’s future renovations this fall.
The Grand Jury’s report was written before the CSD staff issued ballots to Macdonald Park’s neighbors this May and asked if they approve increase maintenance fees. That ballot’s results were announced on June 19.
A citizen’s complaint prompted the Grand Jury investigation on Macdonald Park, a 2.1-acre site that lies in Elk Grove’s Camden area. Half of the park is still unbuilt since the CSD lacks sufficient maintenance funds to take care of that park’s side that borders Beckington Drive.
The complaint questioned why the CSD did not finish the park’s construction despite collecting Quimby fees from the local neighborhoods’ developers to build parks.
Under state law, a parks provider has five years to commit Quimby funds to a park project after they collected that money. Jurors found that the CSD did meet this obligation with the construction of Macdonald Park’s first phase in the late 1990s. They also learned that CSD officials spent leftover Quimby funds on nearby Rau, Jones, and Lombardi parks.
Jurors reported that in 2006, the CSD began focusing on building Macdonald Park’s second phase. They collected Quimby fees from the developer of the Sheldon Estates II developer. However, the district did not spend Quimby funds on the park’s second phase since they lacked enough maintenance funds to support that side of the park.
“(CSD) has met the statutory requirement regarding the commitment of the Quimby fees,” the Grand Jury report stated. “There is no further legal requirement for (CSD) to spend Quimby fees by any particular times.”
The Grand Jury report noted that the CSD staff lacked certain financial records on Quimby fees for Macdonald Park, since they were destroyed in the massive fire that broke out at the district’s administration building in 2015. Jurors advised the CSD staff to recreate the lost records by next June.