Atherton’s City Council voted Aug. 1 to drop plans to install an underground drainage facility at Las Lomitas School and instead to explore putting the equipment – meant to filter runoff heading to the San Francisco Bay and help control flooding – at the town’s Holbrook-Palmer Park.
The town was unable to come to an agreement with the Las Lomitas Elementary School District, where district officials said they had spent two years trying to find a way to make the project work.
The town planned to take advantage of a district construction project to put the drainage basin under school property.
$13.6 million grant
Earlier this year, the town was offered a $13.6 million Caltrans-administered grant that would pay the total costs of designing and installing the facility that, in addition to providing flood prevention, would filter contaminants from water before releasing it to flow to the Bay.
But town officials have worried that the town won’t be able to afford the annual maintenance costs of the facility, which it must pay.
Because it won’t be clear what type of equipment – including expensive-to-maintain pumps – will be needed until the design is about half completed, the town can’t yet know what the maintenance costs might be.
The City Council wants the ability to back out of the project if the maintenance costs – estimated to be about $100,000 a year, but possibly twice that much – are too high.
An agreement with Caltrans allows the town to back out before construction begins, at no cost. But the possibility of abandoning the project was a no-go with the school district.
The school district’s director of bond projects, Eric Holm, said…
click here to read more.