By : The Chief
The editorial staff was having lunch at the salsa bar this past Monday and we discussed the goings on in a city which the Blog Father calls his adopted hometown. We discussed a myriad of different topics, arguments ensued, battle lines were drawn, red lines were crossed, and parties had to be separated. However, there was one thing we could all agree on; the City of Elk Grove, California in the Year of our Lord 2019, has finally decided to emerge from its status as a bedroom community and joined the ranks of becoming a real city. After 20 years, we were finally tired of living in the shadows of Sacramento, and with their announcement of a Soccer team coming in, we had to one up them. Boy did we ever, showing nary a regard for the taxpayers or future generations in the process.
Just to bring you up to speed, our city has a renegade history. Upon separating from Sacramento County and incorporating, we formed our own bus service (since rolled back into Sac Regional Transit), formed our own police department (now on its 5th chief of police now), subbed out the trash services because the county was overcharging us (we now pay more for services than the county customers do), built our own dog pound (again county was overcharging us), etc. But a series of moves this past several weeks have us even more flummoxed.
Our city bought a warehouse for $1.7 million, and even paid an additional $200K in relocation costs to expand the police department…the question here is why? They tell us crime is decreasing, why the need for expansion? Also why buy? Leasing can be a far better option, and if the property falls into disrepair, you look for a new building, alas our city council knows better than we do.
Not to be outdone, we also are now the proud owners of a $70k ribbon tree for the holiday season. That’s funny because we have a Dickens Faire where we light a tree in old Elk Grove. I guess this makes sense because old town has a stigma of being racist (all our council members let this go unchallenged) and I guess we believers get an old Christmas Tree while the non-believers get a $70k ribbon tree. We all know how this story ends, the tree gets vandalized or broken over the next couple years and we have to buy another one or face a certain lawsuit.
But it gets even better. This past week, our city decided to purchase a 15-acre parcel on the corner of Big Horn Blvd and Bruceville Road in what I would call a rapidly deteriorating part of town. (If you doubt me, drop in at WinCo Foods and check out the clientele.) This property will be used for low income housing, which I am sure is funded by grant money from the state and comes with a threat of build the units or face a fine.
The biggest problem we, on the editorial staff, have is the process and the price. Local Psycho Lynn Wheat tried to halt the process for further discussion when she was overruled by the entire council, who by the way “allegedly” has two Republicans on it, who claim to be fiscally responsible, allegedly. So, we are going to pay $2.9 million for this plot of land…at the height of the real estate market…for vacant land. However, even more troubling is the purchase price. The current owner bought this plot for $1 million in October of 2017. Check my stats if you want, I’ve attached links. These reeks of a government corruption issue. How can the price of vacant land more than double in 2 years? And not a single one of our council members or our beloved mayor have an issue? Not throwing any accusations, but one member, who doubles as a PG&E Vice President has a spouse who is the best-known realtor in the Sacramento County area. Surely, she would have objected right? My house appreciated in value by, call it $100K in 5 years, but for a blank piece of property to more than double in value I think an investigation should be in order.
Add these to our aquatic center opening earlier this summer to major fanfare only for the City to increase entrance fees after deeming then inadequate after 1 weekend. Speaking of inadequate, the same center is up to its armpits in litigation because of defective workmanship. Cost effectiveness and fiscal savvy are clearly not on display.
I guess you can say it pays to be an elected official.
Welcome to the big time Elk Grove, thankfully as William pointed out, our city is “green” according to the auditor’s website meaning our financial health is fine, who knows where this spending puts us. Soon we’ll catch up to everyone else.