It was bad enough that mega-money Presidio Terrace residents were gifted their street back for free after failing to pay a $14-a-year property tax for decades and losing the land to a public auction. Turns out they’ve gotten another gift from the city, as the privately owned street has gotten a million gallons of free water a year for their lawns and flower beds at taxpayer expense.
Matier and Ross have the story in today’s San Francisco Chronicle that Presidio Terrace has been getting a million gallons of free water every year from the city. The Department of Public Works discovered that they had never billed the Presidio Terrace Homeowners Association, who have used 12.3 million gallons of free water since 2007.
“It looks like that one just fell through the cracks,” Public Works General Manager Mohammed Nuru told the Chronicle, noting the department had discovered the oversight while performing an inventory of the city’s water use. “The city had hundreds of water meters all over the city for places that appeared to be public spaces.”
In other words, the water account was classified as that of a park or public space, not a private street full of multimillion-dollar mansions. The water meter was apparently installed in 1999, but has always been classified as a “non-paying” account.
Matier and Ross note that, “According to city Public Utilities Commission records, since 2007 the street has used 12.3 million gallons of water — roughly equal to a dozen football fields 10 feet deep in water.”
The total cost to taxpayers has been $59,548, and the Presidio Terrace Homeowners Association repaid that amount in full on Monday. Public Works has found a total of a half-dozen such private property accounts that it has now having switched to the correct owners.