Proposed Stormwater Fee Increase
The District invites all property owners in Vallejo to attend a public hearing to learn about a proposed stormwater services fee increase. If Vallejo property owners vote to approve the fee, it will take effect between 2022 and 2027.
The public hearing will be accessible online starting at 5:00pm on November 9, 2021. The agenda will be available at least 72 hours prior to the meeting. If allowed, the public hearing will also be in person at City of Vallejo Council Chambers located at 555 Santa Clara Street in Vallejo.
To learn more about the proposal, ask questions, and voice any concerns you may have, the District invites all property owners to join us for this public hearing.
- What are "Stormwater Services"?
The District protects residents and the environment from pollution. As part of this mission, we manage the stormwater system to drain rainwater from homes, businesses, and streets. Every property that is protected by the stormwater system helps pay for these services.
- Why Increase Rates?
The typical residential rate -- $1.97 per month -- hasn't changed since 1997. The District needs a rate increase to keep up with inflation and wear and tear on our aging stormwater pipes, canals, and pump stations, and to implement new regulatory requirements, such as installing trash capture devises.
- Didn't We Just Approve a Stormwater Rate Increase?
Vallejo voted to increase stormwater fees for businesses in 2015, but typical residential rates have been the same since 1997. By law (Pro. 218), we cannot raise the stormwater fee without voter approval.
- What Service Improvements Will We See?
The most important service improvements will help us keep Austin Creek and other channels from clogging up with weeds and trash, causing flooding. With these improvements and continued maintenance, floodwaters can move quickly out of the city to the Mare Island Strait. We will also install trash removal devices and replace stormwater pipes that run under city streets.
- What will Residents Pay?
If Vallejo property owners approve the proposed structure, the typical residential rate will gradually rise from $1.97 per property per month to $4.50 per month by 2027. This service fee for typical residential properties has not increased since 1997. The proposed increase is necessary for the District to keep up with inflation, aging equipment, and new regulatory requirements.
Amount per Month:
Fiscal Year Standard Residents Large Lot Residential (0.24 acre and larger) High Density Residential 1997 to 2022 $1.97 $3.06 $1.04 2022 to 2023 $3.10 $4.77 $1.75 2023 to 2024 $3.48 $5.35 $1.96 2024 to 2025 $3.90 $6.00 $2.20 2025 to 2026 $4.37 $6.72 $2.46 2026 to 2027 $4.50 $6.93 $2.54
- What Will Businesses Pay?
Broadly speaking, the business and commercial rate will rise by the same amount as residential rates. However, each business or commercial property pays a unique amount, depending on how much water drains from the site into the stormwater system. Smaller businesses with smaller surface area pay lower fees, while larger businesses with larger surface area pay proportionally higher fees.
Contact us using our online form with your street address or APN number, and we will calculate the proposed fee for your property. Or you can call our finance customer service line at (707) 644-8976 and ask to have your proposed new rate calculated.
Can Nonprofits be exempted?
State law requires that all property owners, regardless of whether they are for-profit companies or not-for-profit organizations, are required to pay their fair share of these expenses. Lowering the rates for one group would mean raising the rates for another group. Except in very limited circumstances, it is not legal to charge different rates based on the rate payer’s characteristics. All users pay a fee based on their proximate impact to the system or the demand for service they generate.
- Will There Be Financial Assistance for Low Income Homeowners?
As part of this proposal, financial assistance will be available to qualified low-income homeowners. The program will be administered similarly to the sewer rate reduction program.
- Why Not Just Use Sewer Fee Money For This?
State law does not allow fees and charges collected for one purpose to be used for a separate purpose, unless approved to do so by the voters. For this reason, the District cannot use fees collected for sewage collection and treatment to be use to manage the stormwater system.
- How Do I Know the Money Will Be Used as Promised?
The District is audited annually by an independent CPA firm, and reports its results directly to the Board of Trustees, with the reports made available to the public. Any inappropriate uses of this money would be reported in the audit to the Board.
- Does It Ever Flood in Vallejo?
Not very often, and the proposed rate increase would help us keep it that way. Most years, Vallejo receives very little rain. But during El Nino years, we can experience heavy rains. Here are a few examples:
- In 2017, parts of Admiral Callaghan Lane, Curtola Parkway and Lake Herman Road were closed to give the stormwater system time to drain floodwaters.
- In 2014, a major storm dropped about 3 inches of rain on Vallejo in less than 48 hours. Parts of Couch Street and other areas were closed to give the stormwater system time to drain floodwaters.
- In 2006, a major flood caused an estimated $1.86 million worth of property damage in Vallejo before the stormwater system could catch up and drain the floodwaters.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, about 6,262 Vallejo residents live in low-lying flood-prone areas. The commercial areas along Sonoma Blvd./Highway 29 and near White Slough are also in high-risk areas. The total property value of flood-prone buildings and their content is valued at more than $1 billion.
- My Property Doesn't Flood. Why Should I Have to Pay?
While your property may not be in a flood zone or flood during heavy rains, the stormwater from your property drains into the system. The fees you pay help maintain the entire system, which benefits you and the entire community.
- How Do I Protest the Proposed Fee Increase?
Any record owner of a parcel upon which the charges are proposed for imposition, and any tenant directly responsible for the payment of storm drainage charges (i.e., a customer of record who is not a property owner), may submit a written protest to the proposed rate adjustments to the District’s storm drainage charges; however, only one protest will be counted per identified parcel.
Each protest must: (1) be in writing; (2) state that it’s being submitted in opposition to the proposed rate increases for the storm drainage charges; (3) provide the location of the identified parcel (by street address or assessor’s parcel number); and (4) include the name and signature of the property owner or tenant submitting the protest.
Written protests may be submitted by mail or in person to the District Clerk of the Board at 450 Ryder Street, Vallejo, CA 94590, on or before November 9, 2021, provided they are received prior to the close of the Public Hearing, which will occur when public testimony on the proposed rate increases is concluded. Protest submitted via e-mail or other electronic means will not be accepted.
- What Are the Next Steps?
First, a public hearing on the proposed increase will be held on November 9, 2021, at 5 p.m.
Second, after the public hearing, and if there is not a majority protest, the District's Board of Trustees will consider whether to move the proposal forward.
Third, assuming the Board decides to move the proposal forward, the District will send a mailed ballot to all property owners, asking them to vote "yes" or "no" on this proposed increase. It is anticipated that the ballots would be mailed in March 2022.
Fourth, if approved by voters, the rate increase to go into effect beginning July 1, 2022 and be placed on the 2022-2023 property tax assessment (for almost all customers).