Fee Study Workshops Summary
The SVBGSA hosted four workshops in the Salinas Valley to explain the agency’s obligation to adopt a fee to provide funding for the operations of the agency and development of Groundwater Management Plans.
The meetings were held in Soledad, Castroville, Salinas and King City and information was provided about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and Salinas Valley Basin GSA’s mission and role in developing groundwater management plans. The fee study presentation included background, various fee options under consideration, feedback received from interested parties/stakeholder groups, and direction provided by the SVBGSA board of directors and advisory committee.
Common discussion items included:
- The fee is for administration of the GSA, not for any current or future project, and for most, will be very minimal.
- The fee recognizes and charges all beneficiaries (such as municipal, agricultural, commercial, industrial, government and environmental) of groundwater sustainability.
- All Salinas Valley Basin property owners within the boundaries of the SVBGSA, whether in the north or south area, will be charged using the same methodology; fees will be uniform by user groups.
- Users who contribute back to the groundwater supply through groundwater recharge, recycled water, return to local creeks and streams and so forth will be charged the same fee. While valid considerations, given the timing and anticipated fee amounts, these will be taken up in the future, or may be addressed at project stage rather than as part of the administration fee.
- Property owners who pay a municipality for water service will be billed with property taxes unless the SVBGSA Board adopts an option that allows water service providers to pay their entire fee directly to the GSA, in which case the water service provider will bill customers directly on the utility bill.
- The fee level will be reviewed annually. Changes to the methodology for calculating the fee may also be made as data availability and reliability evolves.
- A sunset or cap to the fee is not feasible unless an alternative funding source is identified and secured.
The fee will ultimately need to be adopted by a super majority of the SVBGSA Board of Directors under the authority of SGMA as a regulatory fee.
A Fee Study presentation was given to the SVBGSA Board on October 11, 2018, which incorporated input received from the SVBGSA Board, Advisory Committee and attendees of the public workshops. The presentation may be viewed at https://bit.ly/2OO7gAB.
Please email GSAFeeStudy@SVBGSA.org with any questions.