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For more than a century, Presidio Terrace greenery watered on city’s dime

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San Francisco fails to send bill to tony neighborhood

California Couple Buys Street In Exclusive San Francisco Enclave Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

For over a century—a century—residents of Presidio Terrace, a private enclave distinguished for getting San Francisco lawmakers to bend, have benefitted from approximately 1 million gallons of free water replenishing their flora. Free because, according to Matier and Ross, the city of San Francisco has been footing the bill.

City water officials claim they have no record of charging the Presidio Terrace Homeowners Association for the neighborhood’s entire 113 years. Whoops.

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 annual cost to taxpayers has varied from $2,716 in 2009 to $11,208 in 2017. The 10-year-plus total was $59,548.

It should be noted that the water wasn’t used at private residences—it went to watering road verges, parkways, trees, and flowers found along the area’s street island and sidewalks.

The lack of water payment, however, doesn’t fall on the cut-out draped shoulders of PT ilk, darling; it’s the city’s fault this time around.

Matier and Ross go on, “Public Works only recently discovered that the meter was serving Presidio Terrace while doing an inventory of the department’s water use and costs in response to the past drought.”

This revelation comes four months after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to overturn the legal sale of the gated neighborhood’s sidewalks, purchased at a tax auction by South Bay couple Tina Lam and Michael Cheng. Presidio Terrace failed to pay taxes on their streets for more than two decades. In turn, City Hall cleaned up that mess for them posthaste. One can only wonder why.

To the good life!