On August 27, 2019 there will be a workshop to discuss the City-funded maintenance of private roads. This will be held at 6:30 in the auditorium in the Civic Center (not the Library). While the workshop is organized by the City, the citizens will be equal participants. The workshop will be led by an independent moderator, not a City official.
Here is a link to the meeting’s agenda. Section III is “Presentations by Residents”.
Our Group is seeking equality for all residents of Orinda. We consider street maintenance, and access to our homes, to be a basic public service; the same as police, fire, sanitary sewers or any other public utility. Our taxes should pay for it. If the City does not have enough tax revenue to pay for it, which it does not, it needs to collect more from us as it already is doing for some, but not all, streets.
Agreeing to maintain everyone’s street equally would not override any street’s right to remain private, restrict access to non-residents, and maintain the street themselves without City assistance.
We have developed a series of talking points to explain how we all pay for our public services so we should all receive them. The points include:
Opening Statement - Our goal is for the City to create a road maintenance policy which starts with the principle that road maintenance is a basic public service which should be provided across the City for all roads.
Storm Water Drainage System - Roads and drainage are physically linked and have been tied together in every roads discussion since the 2006 Infrastructure Committee Report. But the topic of Orinda’s storm water drainage system is too complex to be added to this Workshop so we will leave it that it is the elephant in the room.
Working for the Common Good - We became a City in 1985 to work for the common good. That means serving everyone as equally as possible.
Why Now? - Orinda’s private streets have been around for a long time, providing for their own maintenance. But starting in 2012 we agreed to a series of taxes to maintain two thirds of the residential streets which are costing each Orinda household $500 a year and that will soon be increasing. The other one third of the streets, serving 1,500 Orinda families, pay the cost but receive no benefits.
The Difference between a private and a public residential street - NONE ‐ They both provide access to private homes.
The Cost to Service Private Streets – about 30 cents a day per Orinda household.
Orinda Infrastructure – The Big Picture – We are currently spending about $4 million a year. We should double that to repair our deteriorating storm water drainage system and maintain the roads which serve and preserve the value of our homes. The total cost would be about $3 per day per household. The private streets, serving 20% of Orinda, would cost 10% of the total to repair and maintain.
Orinda Street Policy – The current Orinda policy prohibits 196 out of 204 private streets from ever becoming public or receiving public maintenance funding even though they look just like and serve the same function as an equivalent number of public streets. This policy needs to be discarded and replaced with a policy which treats all Orinda residents, and the streets they live on, equally.
A Process to Arrive at a Solution – After the City has agreed to create a policy of equality, it needs to create a process that will deliver equal treatment to all. This includes what is legally possible; what the costs will be; and how the necessary funds can be raised.
Closing Statement - This is the city’s opportunity to do something wonderful. The City Council can do the right thing, can take a stand and treat ALL of its citizens fairly, can serve us all equally, which is what a city does: works for the common good of 100%, not 80%, of its residents.