Elk Grove’s annual Neighborhood Summit made its return on May 29.
Attendees learned more about the services from city, school district, parks and fire department representatives at Elk Grove City Hall.
Multiple agencies serve Elk Grove
City Manager Jason Behrmann referred to Elk Grove as “kind of a unique city,” in that its services are provided by a variety of different agencies.
“Sometimes it’s confusing for members of the public,” he said. “Water service – that’s provided by the county in some cases, depending on where you live. In other cases, it’s provided by a separate special district.
“We have the (Cosumnes) Community Services District (CSD) that does fire and parks. We have the county that does sewer services. The city does other services. We try to do a good job communicating that, but it is confusing.”
Cosumnes Community Services District
CSD General Manager Joshua Green said that the district’s parks department covers 109 square miles and extends to Twin Cities Road. Their fire department consists of 157 square miles, including Elk Grove and Galt.
As an organization, the CSD has over 300 full-time employees and about 350 part-time employees.
Green noted that the CSD last year completed its 10-year master plan, which gives direction on how the park district will appear in the future. That document is available on the website, YourCSD.com.
The master plan calls for 33 new parks to be built in the next decade. The CSD will also renovate some of its parks.
Green mentioned that the CSD manages the city’s newly-opened aquatics center and various other recreational facilities. The CSD also hosts 50 annual events, including the Elk Grove Giant Pumpkin Festival.
Among CSD’s other projects is exploring the future use for the soon-to-be-vacated senior center on Sharkey Avenue.
Cosumnes Fire Department
Cosumnes Fire Department Chief Mike McLaughlin also addressed the meeting attendees.
“It’s also important to note that we provide – in addition to fire (protection services), based on our name – emergency medical services, paramedic transportation, (as well as) public education, technical rescue and a wide array of other services,” he said.
The fire chief noted that the department’s ambulance transport program covers an area of 362 square miles, including the communities of Wilton, Herald, Walnut Grove and Courtland.
Last year, the department responded to nearly 20,000 incidents.
McLaughlin stated that the department’s emergency response approach consists of placing “the right resources in the right location in the right time frame.”
Elk Grove Police Department
Carlos Vina, supervisor for the Elk Grove Police Department’s community resources bureau and Problem-Oriented Policing (POP) unit, noted that POP officers address “quality of life” neighborhood issues, special events and areas that don’t necessarily require immediate response by patrol officers.
Following his comments, Vina introduced several representatives of the department.
Capt. Tim Albright noted that the department is close to unveiling its real-time information center, which will more effectively utilize the department’s existing and expanding video capabilities.
Rich Lozano, a supervisor with the Elk Grove Unified School District’s (EGUSD) safety and security and police services department, said that he works with the police department and other city departments. He stated that his department’s primary role is to handle crimes that occur on campuses.
City’s Code Enforcement
Shane Diller, the city’s assistant development services director, spoke about code enforcement in Elk Grove.
He noted that the Code Enforcement Division handles about 3,000 complaints per year.
Diller said that unless a complaint involves an imminent safety hazard, property and/or business owners receive a courtesy letter advising them of the violation. The letter also includes what needs to be done to correct the issue and by when those corrections need to be handled.
More than half of the complaints that the department receives are corrected during the allotted time mentioned in those letters.
If necessary, a “notice in order” – or the first legal notice – is sent to the property warning them of potential fines and fees.
Diller said that of those remaining cases, more than 90% of them are closed at that stage.
A “hot topic” for code enforcement, notes Diller, relates to illegal fireworks.
Diller mentioned that the city partners with the CSD to handle fire hazard mitigations. The city handles individual residential properties and smaller lots with high grasses or weeds.
“June and early July (is) the period of the year that we hit that stuff hard,” he said.
Elk Grove Unified School District
Kathy Hamilton, director of college and career connections with the Elk Grove school district, told the event’s attendees that the focus of the district is to integrate rigorous academics with career-paced learning and real-world workplace experience.
Elk Grove Unified, which is the state’s fifth largest school district, currently has 62,000 enrolled students in 67 different schools within Elk Grove, Sacramento and Rancho Cordova.
Hamilton reported that about 37 students will participate in a civic education training program this summer. This training will be followed by a three-week internship with such organizations as the local police and fire departments.
She added that from 2016 to 2018, the district experienced a 60% increase in students that have extensive summer internships.
Hamilton stressed the value of such internships.
“The number one thing that (employers) are looking for before they even look at the students’ skills is how well can a student prepare a resume and how well can they present themselves in an interview,” she said. “If they can’t do those two things, they are not getting summer jobs, even if they have the highest GPA in their school.”
City’s planning division
Antonio Ablog, who manages the city’s planning division, said that two of this division’s primary functions are reviewing private development projects and providing planning information for the public.
Regarding the latter topic, Ablog said that the division’s planners respond to resident questions and comments on projects.
He also mentioned that the division provides information regarding home improvement projects such as building a new fence, constructing additions to a home, or placing a shed in a backyard.
City’s Recycling and Waste Division
Heather Neff, the city’s Recycling and Waste Division manager, spoke on recycling, as well as taking hazardous wastes to the city’s special wastes collections center off Highway 99 at Grant Line Road. Those items include cleaners, paints, pool chemicals, light bulbs and e-waste.
“It’s a free drop-off,” she said. “You’re already paying for it as part of your garbage bill.”
Neff added that residents can request as many as three recycle carts and three green waste carts at no additional charge.
“If you’ve got a lot of vegetation on your property or your just super good at recycling, go you,” she said.
In concluding the meeting, Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly commended the “exceptional people” who contribute their abilities to make Elk Grove a “high functioning” city.
“I just feel very privileged to live in this wonderful city with wonderful people that serve above and beyond,” he said.