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Would you pay for a city required service that the city does not provide? In the Hagginwood area of North Sacramento, there is a lack of a city required storm drainage system and the City of Sacramento, through its Department of Utilities, continues to bill property owners for a service the city does not provide.
For more than twenty years, Hudson Way property owners and tenants have questioned why Hudson Way and other neighboring streets are without a storm drainage system. Property owners pay a storm drainage fee on their utility bills; however, they do not receive the required city service of a well constructed and permanent storm drainage system.
Current drainage conditions, as stated by the Department(s) of Transportation, Utilities and Public Works are “…fixed temporarily and inadequate.”
After every rainstorm, particularly a heavy rainstorm, pools of water stand on the north and south sides of Hudson Way with no place to drain. Rainwater often flows up the driveways to the residents’ garage doors. Flooded garages often occur.
Literature published by the City of Sacramento’s Department of Utilities states:
“Drainage Services: The City of Sacramento Department of Utilities removes urban runoff from city streets with 45,000 storm drain inlets, hundreds of miles of pipe, 65 miles of canals and drainage ditches, over 100 pump stations and numerous detention basins, including many in the North Natomas area. Through this system, water is moved from homes and businesses and into creeks, lakes and rivers.”
I, personally, have been before the Sacramento City Council twice to address this matter. I have also been before the Sacramento Rate Utilities Commission and most recently before the Sacramento Audit Committee hearing on April 4, 2011.
During the Audit Committee hearing, Councilman Darrell Fong of District 7 indicated that streets in his district also lack storm drainage systems, resulting in similar street and property flooding and the city bills for this lack of service.
Sacramento City Auditor, Jorge Osequera, when asked by the committee for his opinion on this matter stated, “There is an area of risk where we are potentially billing for a service that isn’t being received. Just as if we were providing a service and we weren’t billing for it.”
At each of these hearings, I have stated…“we are not asking for sidewalks, curbs or gutters, we are asking for a well constructed and permanent storm drainage system.”
Storm drainage is a city required service. The city is not rendering this required service in the Hagginwood neighborhood.
Research on Wikipedia found, “After the merger of North Sacramento with the City of Sacramento and 1960's freeway construction that bypassed business districts on Marysville, Rio Linda and Del Paso Boulevards, North Sacramento began a gradual decline. The tax base lessened and local representation in city government has historically been lacking. For the next forty-five years, city funding would be provided to maintain popular old neighborhoods in the downtown and mid-town areas and to build infrastructure in emerging new communities, while North Sacramento was relegated to a position of forgotten status.”
Twelve surrounding streets of Hudson Way, (Barcon Way, Craigmont Street, Diggs Park Drive, Eldridge Avenue, Hudson Way, Judah Street, Kathleen Avenue, Kenwood Street, Mahogany Street, Montrose Street, Pendleton Street and Tessa Avenue) with a total of over 300 homes, are without proper infrastructure for storm drainage and endure the annual seasonal plague of street and property flooding. The financial gain the city and the DOU has received over the past twenty years, and longer, is more then enough to accommodate what is required.
What has the City of Sacramento and its Department of Utilities done with the storm drainage monies collected for the twenty-plus years from more than three hundred households around the Hagginwood area?
It’s a bitter pill to swallow when the Sacramento citizens of these areas write their monthly utility check for their storm drainage fee when the citywide service is not provided.
Bottom line: Where has our money gone? When are “we” going to get our fair share of a Sacramento city required service? Or, will the city continue their process of ignoring what needs to address?