On November 9, following a public hearing, the Vallejo Flood & Wastewater District Board of Trustees unanimously voted to move forward with a proposed increase in stormwater service fees.
The District’s Trustees cannot approve a stormwater rate increase on their own. Only Vallejo property owners can do that. The Trustees’ vote means that all property owners in the city receivde a ballot in the mail in late February.
Vallejo was recently pummeled by heavy rains. Fortunately for us, storms like that are rare in Vallejo. But we do experience heavy rains that close streets and threaten life and property now and again. 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 are valued at more than $1 billion.
The stormwater system we have in place prevented hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage and residents stayed safe this October. But significant flood damage did occur in a number of areas, and these incidents highlight the urgent need to accelerate repairs and maintenance for the system.
Property owners will have the option to vote yes or no to raise the fee that pays for maintenance of the flood protection system that protected the city during the October storm. Residents have paid the same low rate — just $1.97 per month — since 1997.
Wear and tear on this system is mounting and the District has reached the end of its ability to pay for maintenance out of its reserves. 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 2026. Commercial rates will also rise by a similar percentage.
This fee increase, if approved by property owners, will help us keep Austin Creek and other channels from clogging up with weeds and trash. Floodwaters can then move quickly out of the city to the Mare Island Strait. We will also install additional trash removal devices and replace stormwater pipes that run under city streets.
To learn more about the proposal, ask questions, and voice any concerns you may have, visit https://www.vallejowastewater.org/333/Proposed-Stormwater-Fee-Increase or call 707.644.8949.
Watch your mailbox for that ballot!