Storm Water Enterprise Fee

Storm Water Enterprise Rate Information.

The storm drain fee ballots were submitted to the City Clerk's Office by the August 28, 2007, deadline.  Initial results (pending final validation) showed the majority of the votes opposed a rate increase.  The City Council adopted a resolution certifying the vote on October 2, 2007.

WOODLAND'S STORM WATER INFRASTRUCTURE

STORM DRAIN ADVISORY REPORT INFORMATION

The City Council received a report May 1st from the citizen’s Storm Drain Advisory Committee confirming the fact that program needs have outpaced revenues and a rate increase is needed. Council voted unanimously to start the process for a property owner vote on an initial increase to $5.00 per month, per home, from the current $0.48 established in 1994. Click the links below for additional information.

TESTIMONY OF THE CITIZEN'S ADVISORY COMMITTEE City Council meeting text transcripts and video from May 1, 2007.
Note: To watch the video segments you will require the QuickTime Viewer installed on your computer.
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  • Michael Berta's text transcript and video.
    It may take a few minutes to load it is around 35MB.
  • Dudley Holman's text transcript and video.
    It may take a few minutes to load it is around 8MB.

RATE INCREASE NOTIFICATION MATERIALS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. What is storm water? Storm water is rain, hail, or snow that falls on streets, parking lots, and rooftops either flows directly into nearby streams or travels there through drainage systems, such as curbs and gutters, inlets, storm sewers, detention ponds and channels. The flows are then discharged, untreated, into major drainage ways such as Tule Canal and then into the Sacramento River. Storm water is the main source of water flow to our watershed.
  2. Why is storm water such a problem? As precipitation falls on agricultural and undeveloped areas, it is primarily absorbed into the ground or slowly runs off into streams, rivers or other water bodies. Rooftops and paved areas, however, prevent water from being absorbed and create a faster rate of runoff. This often causes localized flooding or other water quantity or quality issues.
  3. Why is storm water management necessary? Storm water often contains surface pollutants including petroleum products, soaps, detergents, and lawn fertilizer which eventually follow drainage canals into Cache Creek and the Sacramento River Delta. Effective storm water management also helps reduce flooding and the erosion of river banks.
  4. What is a storm water system? Woodland's storm water system is made up of curbs and gutters, inlets, storm sewers, detention ponds and channels. All of the parts of the system collect and discharge untreated storm water into major drainage ways such as Tule Canal and then into the Sacramento River
  5. Why do we need to spend more for storm water? Historically, the allocation of funds has not been sufficient to address all of the city's storm water service needs. Although the city has done a good job providing storm water services on a limited budget, the backlog of storm water projects has grown and some maintenance activities have not been able to be performed due to a lack of resources. Also, local, state, and federal laws also require that cities address the environmental impacts of storm water pollution, but do not provide funds to do it. Consequently, the city must investigate alternative means for raising revenue.
  6. What did the city do to study and review storm water needs? The city council convened a public advisory committee made up of Woodland residents to study current needs of the storm water system and recommend solutions to any problems they discovered. The committee presented its recommendation to establish a storm water enterprise fund to the city council. The city council formally adopted that recommendation and began the process for creating a storm water enterprise. These Woodlanders served on the advisory committee: Mike Berta (Chair), Gary Sandy (Vice Chair), Steve Fann, Ken Trott, Xavior Tafoya, John Benedict, Dave Giger, Alan Gering, Erini Rodriguez, Dudley Holman, Cathryn Lawrence, Alan Flory.
  7. What is a Storm Water Enterprise? A storm water enterprise is a city-controlled fund established to pay for 1) operations and maintenance costs on existing storm water infrastructure; 2) administration of the city's federally-mandated municipal permit; 3) engineering and technical review staff; and 4) the design and construction of new capital improvements. A storm water enterprise is the most equitable method to operate and maintain the city's storm water system, meet the requirements of the federal water quality permit and add capital improvements to mitigate existing flooding, erosion and sedimentation problems. Those that generate storm water runoff from their properties will pay to fund the storm water system.
  8. How can the city establish an enterprise fund? Under the state constitution, an enterprise fund for storm water does require an election. The storm water enterprise rate is not a tax, but a rate for service, just like your water and wastewater utilities. Residents and businesses will benefit from the storm water enterprise through a better-maintained storm sewer system, increased flood control that will reduce threats to public and private property, and improved water quality.
  9. Why is a Stormwater Enterprise the best solution to fund stormwater drainage needs in Woodland? A stormwater enterprise is the most equitable method to operate and maintain the City's stormwater system, meet the requirements of the federal water quality permit and add capital improvements to mitigate existing flooding, erosion and sedimentation problems. Those that generate stormwater runoff from their properties will pay to fund the stormwater system. Stormwater enterprises are being used by other communities in California, several of which are listed in the table below.
    Examples of California Communities with Stormwater Enterprises
    Community Population Monthly Single
    Family Bill*
    $ Year
    Santa Cruz 54,593 $ 1.77 $ 21.24
    Stockton 286,000 $ 2.10 $ 25.20
    Tracy 74,000 $ 2.75 $ 33.00
    Dixon ~20,000 $ 3.77 $ 45.20
    Woodland present 52,519 $ 0.48 $ 5.76
    Woodland proposed 52,519 $ 5.00 $ 60.00
    Sacramento 418,000 $11.31 $135.72
    Sacramento County 1,258,000 $ 5.85 $ 70.20
    Davis 64,000 $ 4.83 $ 57.96
    Galt 21,300 $ 2.43 $ 29.16
    *Numbers based on most recent survey information available
  10. How is a rate different from a tax? A service rate is a charge imposed on property for the purpose of defraying the cost of a particular government service, such as citywide storm water drainage. The service rate funds can only be spent in providing that service. A tax is imposed on property, acts, events, or occurrences to provide revenue to pay any of the general expenses of government. The tax revenue can be used to pay for any or all government activities, such as police, fire, zoning, streets, etc.
  11. Why can't the General Fund pay for the needs? The General Fund is used to fund many city programs. Boosting the storm water funding only through the General Fund would result in cuts to other programs, such as public safety and parks. Currently, the City General Fund allocates about $750,000 annually to address critical storm water drainage infrastructure and storm water drainage maintenance. This limits the city's current storm water program to critical emergency repairs and public education and involvement programs that are required by the federally-mandated water quality permit. In contrast, the enterprise will be able to provide approximately $1.6 million annually for storm water drainage and cover the actual cost of maintaining a workable and regulatory compliant storm water system. The backlog of projects for the City of Woodland is currently estimated at $22.5 million. Of that, projects rated "Immediate and High Priority" comprise an estimated $16.5 million. The remainder budget will fund proper maintenance and operation of the system.
  12. How much money will the storm water enterprise raise? The City Council has recommended that the rate be set at a rate that will raise approximately $1.7 million per year. The current backlog of capital project needs is estimated at $22.5 million, with $16.5 million of those needs classified as high priority. Funding is also needed for ongoing operations and maintenance as well as to meet the requirements for the federally-mandated Municipal Storm water Discharge Permit.
  13. How will the money be allocated and spent? Projected revenue for the enterprise will be approximately $3.1M in FY 2013/14 under the initial proposal. The proposed annual budget breakdown under the proposal in 2013/14 will be: capital improvement projects - $0.71M; maintenance and repairs - $0.8M; water quality permit - $0.7M; engineering, planning and inspections - $0.20M; Future Drainage Basin Planning Studies and construction - $0.7M. These estimates are subject to change depending on storm drainage system requirements.
  14. How much money is going to be spent on administrative costs? Administrative costs represent 6% of the storm water enterprise's proposed budget.
  15. Who will decide the priority of projects? City staff developed the initial list of capital necessary capital improvements, however changing regulatory requirements, storm events and pipeline failures can create additional project needs.
  16. Will there be public input on the capital projects? As with all major capital projects in Woodland, there will be a public process for each storm water capital improvement project.
  17. Who will manage the money? The storm water enterprise will be a city-managed fund. The city council will have ultimate budget approval over recommendations put forward by public works staff.
  18. Will there be a checks and balance system to monitor the spending? City Council will approve the storm water enterprise budget each year in a public meeting where public input will be solicited and recorded.
  19. Why can't the enterprise rate be billed with my property tax? Only taxes can be included on the property tax bill. Since the storm water enterprise is funded through fees, that amount can not legally be included on the property tax bill.
  20. How and when will I receive my first bill? The city will use its own billing software and internal staff to bill for storm water fees. Working with the storm water enterprise, bills will be mailed bi-monthly to all property parcel owners within the City of Woodland beginning in September 2007 if the current mail-in ballot vote approves the rate increase.
  21. When will my first bill be due? The bills will be sent out in the September of 2007 and will include the amount due for September, 2007. The bills will be sent bi-monthly with the amount due within 30 days of receipt.
  22. How will the city bill multi-family units, like townhouses or apartments? The registered property owner will receive the bill. It is up to that owner to determine how, or if, he/she will pass on that cost to the tenants of a multi-family property. In a Homeowner Association (HOA) situation, the HOA will be billed for common areas.
  23. How will billing be handled for stores that are leasing space in a building owned by someone else? Bills will be sent to the property owner. It is up to the property owner to determine how the cost will be distributed among the tenants.
  24. Will County properties in city limits be assessed? The City of Woodland will assess all properties within the corporate limits of the City of Woodland.
  25. What is impervious surface? Impervious surfaces are hard surfaces that do not allow rain or snow to infiltrate at the same rate as natural surface, like grass or dirt. It includes surfaces such as rooftops, driveways, patio areas, sidewalks, parking lots and other man-made structures.
  26. Why didn't the City of Woodland do something sooner before the backlog got so big? City staff has been looking for ways to fund storm water management since the 1980s. In 1994, the original storm water enterprise rate was passed at $0.48 per household. This rate has not been changed since that time. In the past two years, city council has allocated approximately $0.75M annually for a few critical projects and emergency needs. Through 2006, there was no storm water drainage maintenance funding specifically itemized in the city's budget. The city performed maintenance activities on emergency basis only, using funds from other department projects when necessary. The lack of funding did not allow public works staff to do any routine maintenance on the drainage system. The combination of funding shortfalls to do capital projects and the inability to keep up with the maintenance has contributed to the $22.5M backlog of capital needs that exist today.
  27. What is the responsibility of new development? Existing regulations require the developers to build storm sewer systems and storm water detention facilities to manage the runoff generate by their developments. Once a lot is developed, that lot will be subject to the same storm water rate as all the existing lots. Since storm water infrastructure is already in place in new developments, most of the work at improving the system needs to be carried out in the rest of the city.
  28. Will all properties have to pay? All developed properties with impervious area will be charged a storm water rate. Undeveloped lots or properties with less than 350 square feet of impervious surfaces will not be charged a rate. Properties paying the rate would include privately owned parcels, non-profit organizations, commercial, industrial, office, government and residential property.
  29. What penalties will the City face if the Storm Water Enterprise fund is not passed? The City can be fined $27,500 or more per day by the State for not abiding by the federal Storm Water Permit requirements.
  30. Who can I contact for more information? Mark Cocke, Senior Civil Engineer, 530-661-5985 or stormwater@cityofwoodland.org.
     

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