California is a big state with a large, diverse population. So it should not come as a surprise that the local level of government is complicated. Within, and in addition to, the County itself local governmental services are provided by:  

  • 7 cities with elected city councils
  • 65 independent special districts with elected governing boards
  • 19 dependent special districts run by the Board of Supervisors or their appointees
  • 13 public school districts plus an independently-elected board of the County Office of Education
  • 2 community college districts (Los Rios CCD and Sierra Joint CCD)  
  • 12 joint powers authorities (two or more public agencies that have combined to provide a service within the territorial boundaries of the combined agencies) plus the Local Agency Formation Commission that provided the information in this table, and
  • 7 other service providers (regulated utilities including water purveyors and PG&E)

That's a lot to keep track of and it can certainly be confusing. The intent of these pages is to shed some light on which of these public entities serve Arden Arcade, with the hope that the electorate in our community will ultimately become better informed.


There are several recreation and park districts within Sacramento County. The ones that serve Arden Arcade do a decent job of coordination. There is even a web site that can be used to search for park facilities. The map below is a screen grab from the GIS map of the area's park districts. 

Some of our parks are provided by independent special districts, with governing boards elected by the community they serve. These include:

Other parks are provided by Sacramento County. Sacramento County Regional Parks is responsible for the American River Parkway, arguably a world-class gem. The Mission Oaks Recreation and Park District is a dependent special district, with a governing board appointed by the County Supervisor who represents the County's Third District.


Public schools in Arden Arcade are provided by the San Juan Unified School District, the Los Rios Community College District, and the Sacramento County Office of Education.

The San Juan Unified School District is a large district north of the American River and east of the Twin Rivers Unified School District. It stretches from some eastern neighborhoods of the City of Sacramento north and eastwards towards to the Placer County line and the Folsom-Cordova School District. There are five elected School Board Members. Despite the District’s size and geographic differences, the Board Members serve at-large, rather than by district.  There are over 300,000 District residents who are constituents of the five Board Members.

The San Juan Unified School District serves unincorporated Arden Arcade with 12 elementary schools, 2 middle schools and 3 high schools as well as a Montessori School (Cottage), a fundamental middle school (Arcade) and a fundamental high school (El Camino) that are open to all residents of the District.

Every county in California has an office of education that provides technical assistance, curriculum and instructional support, staff development, legal and financial advice, and oversight to local school districts. In Sacramento County, that office is the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE). Among other things, SCOE runs several schools directly, including Juvenile Court schools, community schools for at-risk youth, and schools serving special needs students.  

For example, SCOE’s Leo Palmiter Jr/Sr High School in Arden Arcade provides services and program that meet the unique educational, behavioral, and mental health needs of grades 7-12 students. The students are referred directly from the local school districts that cannot provide highly-structured behavioral support programs. Palmiter students benefit from an educational program with a strong vocational/ transitional/school-to-world emphasis. The students also receive site counseling from the school social worker and site-based mental therapy from Sacramento County Mental Health.

SCOE has a 7-member Board of Education, elected by district . Each Trustee represents about 212,000 people. Arden Arcade is within SCOE Area 3.

Arden Arcade shares Area 3 with portions of North Highlands, Foothill Farms, Carmichael and the La Riviera neighborhoods south of the American River between Watt Avenue, Highway 50 and Mayhew Road. (Map Source: Sacramento County Registrar of Voters) 

California has 72 community college districts and 113 2-year colleges. The Los Rios Community College District is California’s second-largest community college district, with about 77,000 enrolled students. The District’s 2,400 square mile service area includes all of Sacramento County, most of El Dorado County and parts of Yolo, Placer and Solano counties.  The governing body consists of 7 Trustees elected by district. Arden Arcade has two districts:  Area 2  and Area 6. The dividing line is generally along Edison Ave. east of Watt Ave. to Eastern Ave., then south on Eastern to Whitney Ave. eastward. The Trustees each represent approximately 254,000 people.

The Los Rios Community College District  has 4 community college campuses and 10 outreach centers. American River College lies just northeast of Arden Arcade, north of Arcade Creek/Winding Way. The district’s administrative offices are in Arden Arcade’s Howe Avenue corridor.


Arden Arcade lies close to the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers, which have historically flooded vast portions of the region.  Decades of investment in levees, storage reservoirs and drainage systems have brought the threat of flooding under apparent control. Yet on occasion events like the flood of 1986 have put nature’s power in perspective and stimulated new flurries of flood protection activity. The Central Valley Flood Protection Plan was prepared in 2011 as a way to provide for a coordinated set of infrastructure improvements and management operations across the many layers of government agencies with responsibilities for flood protection in the Central Valley—including federal agencies (Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management), the CA Department of Water Resources and local agencies like the American river Flood Control District.  

The H Street bridge during the 1986 high water (photo credit: Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency)

The American River Flood Control District is an independent special district with 5 trustees elected by voters within the District. The District was established in 1927 to maintain the 40 miles of levees along the American River and portions of Steelhead, Arcade, Dry, and Magpie creeks. Its routine activities include levee vegetation management, rodent abatement, erosion repairs, and maintenance of access roads, gates, and equipment. Portions of Arden Arcade along the American River, Strong Ranch Slough and Chicken Ranch Slough are within the jurisdictional area of the District (detailed map here).

The Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA) was formed in 1989 as a result of renewed awareness of the area's vulnerability to catastrophic floods. In 1986 Folsom Dam exceeded its normal flood control storage capacity and some area levees nearly collapsed due to the storm. In response, the City of Sacramento, Sacramento and Sutter Counties, the American River Flood Control District and Reclamation District No. 1000 created SAFCA through a Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement for better flood protection along the American and Sacramento Rivers. The Board of Directors of SAFCA consists of all 5 Sacramento Supervisors, 1 Sutter County Supervisor, 3 City of Sacramento representatives, and 2 members each from the American River flood Control district and Reclamation District 100.

Map Source: CA Department of Water Resources, American River Basin Integrated Regional Water Management Plan. Blue/white dotted line delineates American River Flood Control District. Cities with storm water management responsibilities are shown in brown. Green represents the FEMA 100-year flood plain. SAFCA and Reclamation District 1000 areas are cross-hatched.  


Arden Arcade has five different water purveyors. Two are independent special districts. Another is a department of Sacramento County.  Two others are private companies, regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. 

The public agencies are the Sacramento Suburban Water District and the Del Paso Manor Water District (both with elected Boards) and County Water Agency Number 41.  These agencies are publicly owned and operated water utilities regulated by the State of California Department of Public Health and State Water Code laws. The water districts are “enterprise” districts, meaning their expenses are financed through water service charges and connection fees. The County Water Agency Zone 41 is controlled by the County Board of Supervisors.

The Sacramento Suburban Water District (SSWD) is large (36 sq miles) and sprawling, a legacy of the consolidation of the Arcade Water District and the Northridge Water District in 2002.  It is governed by a 5 member Board of Directors. Each Director is directly elected by the voters within the Division that they represent.  

Each Director on the SSWD Board represents about 34,600 people.

The Del Paso Manor Water District serves a roughly 1 mile-square area generally bounded by Watt, Marconi, and Eastern Avenues and Cottage Way. It its also governed by a directly-elected 5-member Board of Directors. The Directors are elected at large and serve a population of about 3000 people. 

The Sacramento County Water Agency consists of 8 zones that can finance, construct, acquire, reconstruct, maintain, operate, extend, repair, or otherwise improve any work or improvement of common benefit to the zone. In 2000 the County, by restructuring its County Water Maintenance District, formed Zone 41, which serves as the retail water purveyor for the vicinity of Arden Park and Sierra Oaks as well as several other areas of the County {refer to map}. Zone 41 also provides wholesale water supply for the Florin Resources Conservation District/Elk Grove Water Service. The County Board of Supervisors governs the Water Agency as ex-officio directors. Each County Supervisor represents about 292,400 people.

Retail water service areas of Zone 41(shown in blue).

Arden Park and the unincorporated portion of Sierra Oaks are among the areas that get their water from Sacramento County Water Agency Zone 41. Source: Sacramento County Water Agency.

The California-American Water Company (generally W of SSWD to City of Sacramento line) and the Golden State Water Company (the Arden-Cordova service area includes area bounded by Fulton, Hurley, Watt and Cottage) are Investor-owned  water supply utilities. They are regulated by the CA Public Utilities CommissionMembers of the Commission are appointed to their terms by the Governor of the State of California.

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The Sacramento Metropolitan Utility District (SMUD) is a public agency that supplies electrical power to almost all of Sacramento County and a small section of Placer County north of Sacramento County’s Antelope area. It is one of California’s largest municipal utility districts. Being a public agency, SMUD is not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.

The SMUD Board consists of 7 members elected by district, which SMUD calls Wards. Each Board Member thus represents a little over 200,000 people. 

There are 3 SMUD Wards with Directors who serve Arden Arcade. Ward 5 handles northwestern parts of the County but also has a strip of territory in Arden Arcade between Ethan Way and Howe Avenue from Marconi Avenue to a bit below Arden Way. Ward 7 covers generally the north central part of the County – Antelope and North Highlands plus territory south of I-80 including Old Foothill Farms, Carmichael and the northeastern corner of Arden Arcade. Ward 3 has much of the center of the County. It includes East Sacramento, Campus Commons, Cal Expo/Point West, and the Power Inn Road area of the City of Sacramento, unincorporated areas north of Elk Grove, Rosemont/La Riviera, much of Arden Arcade between Howe and Watt Avenues as well as between Arden Way and the American River and a portion of Carmichael from Mission Avenue to Ancil Hoffman Park. 

Arden Arcade is served by SMUD Wards 3, 5, and 7. SMUD’s own map cites Arden Park and Arden in Ward 3 and Arden Fair in Ward 5. 


The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District is California’s seventh largest fire agency. The District provides fire and rescue and emergency medical services across 417 square miles within Sacramento County. The District evolved through a series of mergers by small fire districts such that it now serves almost ¾ of a million people Sacramento County (the Cities of Sacramento, Elk Grove and Folsom and some smaller fire districts serve the rest of the County). 

The Metro Fire Board consists of 9 members elected by district. Each Board Member thus represents about 81,000 people. 

Two of Metro Fire’s districts cover Arden Arcade. District 6 includes the area west of Watt Avenue, a section between Watt Avenue and Eastern Avenue south of El Camino Avenue, and territory north of Whitney between Watt and Eastern and north of Edison Avenue to College Oaks and Madison in Old Foothill Farms. District  7 lies east of District 6. It includes portions of Arden Arcade east of Watt Avenue and south of Fair Oaks Blvd.; the area bounded by Watt, Whitney, Eastern and El Camino Avenues, and territory between Eastern and Walnut Avenues from Fair Oaks Blvd. to Cypress Avenue. There are 6 fire stations in District 6 and 5 stations in District 7. Of those 11 stations, 6 are in Arden Arcade.

Sacramento Metro Fire District 6 covers much of Arden Arcade. The District’s map so states. 

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District 7 serves Arden Arcade and Carmichael, as clearly indicated by the District’s map

federal and state offices


At the state level, Arden Arcade is represented by a member of the Assembly (currently Ken Cooley, District 8) as well as a member of the State Senate (currently Richard Pan, District 6). The Assembly seat is for a 2-year term; it is contested every even-numbered year. The Senate seat is for a 4-year term that will next be contested in 2020.  Each of the 80 State Assembly Representatives serves 465,000 people. Each of the 40 State Senators represents over 930,000 people. Members of the Legislature are subject to term limits. Under current state law, members first elected in 2012 and thereafter may only serve a total of 12 years in any combination of 2-year State Assembly or 4-year State Senate terms. The 12-year limit applies to both of Arden Arcade’s incumbents.

At the federal level, the most recent census-driven redistricting resulted in Arden Arcade being represented in Congress by two people (Ami Bera in the 7th District and Doris Matsui in the 6th District).  East and West of Watt Avenue above El Camino Avenue and in the area bounded by Fulton and Watt Avenues and El Camino Avenue to the American River, the gerrymandered districts split some of Arden Arcade’s unincorporated area neighborhoods as though the neighborhoods do not exist. This situation can be both confusing and frustrating for residents of Arden Arcade.  On the positive side, Arden Arcade theoretically has two voices in Congress.  Still, it is a challenge for Arden Arcade’s nearly 100,000 people to be heard, given that each Congressional Representative serves over 700,000 constituents. Congressional representatives serve 2-year terms contested every even year. Arden Arcade is also served by two Senators who each serve 6-year terms.  One of the Senate seats, currently held by retiring Senator Barbara Boxer, is being contested in 2016. The other seat, occupied by Senator Dianne Feinstein, will be next contested in 2018.


At the state level, the statewide elected officials of the executive branch are the Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Controller, Insurance Commissioner and State Schools Superintendant.  Arden Arcade is part of the State Board of Equalization’s 30-county First District

The President and Vice President are elected officials of the federal executive branch.



State Superior Court Judges are typically appointed by the Governor to 6-year terms. They may appear on the ballot if they are challenged for reappointment.  State Appellate and Supreme Court justices are appointed to 12-year terms. They stand for retention at completion of their terms, when voters are given a change to vote “yes” or “no” on their reappointment. Federal justices are appointed to life terms. They do not stand for election.


Congressional District 6 (blue) and District 7 (tan) separate portions of Arden Arcade