December 2002 Update - Representatives of the Salinas Valley Water Coalition have participated in the various MCWRA activities pertaining to the issues surrounding Zones 2/2A as well as the development and implementation of the Salinas Valley Water Project. This has included participation in the Settlement Committee established by Judge Silver, the Ad-Hoc Assessment Committee and the Cost Allocation Committee, all in an effort to evaluate and better understand the Agency and its administrative and operational systems, and to develop a new and proportional form of assessment(s) to replace the Agency's existing Zone 2 and 2A water standby charges.
The Cost Allocation Committee made the following recommendation to the MCWRA Board of Directors -----we are anticipating that the Board of Directors will adopt this recommendation at its December 19th meeting and forward it to the Board of Supervisors for their consideration and approval. The recommendation consists of:
1. A new zone - Zone 2C will be created. The assessments for this Zone will include 1) the operation and maintenance of the two existing reservoirs - Zones 2/2a-along with 2) the assessments for the Spillway Modification and 3) the assessments for the Diversion Structure and, 4) an assessment for administration. There will be one zone with four separate new assessments as detailed below. (please note that the current waterstandby charges for Zones 2 and 2A will cease to exist once this new zone and assessments are approved by the voters)
2. Zones 2/2a will remain solely for the collection of ad-valorem taxes currently in place -these are NOT to be confused with the water standby and availability charges which will cease to exist. The distribution of costs according to benefit - and the recognition of a difference in benefits among lands from one end of the valley to the other end are what we have worked many many years toward. As you know all lands within the Salinas Valley have historically been charged the same for the operation of the reservoirs. While the benefits have not been uniform, the charges have. Zone 2C changes all of this and lands will now be assessed according to benefit received as required per Prop. 218.
Zone 2C costs will be distributed according to the following ratio of benefits conferred to lands for the operation of the reservoirs. The zone ratios are:
Pressure Area: 5.7 Eastside: 3.1
Forebay: 2.7 Upper Valley: 2.6
Extended Upper Valley [these area areas surrounding the reservoirs]
Below: 2.9 Above San Antonio: 2.7
Arroyo Seco: 1
3. Costs for the proposed Spillway Modification component of the Salinas Valley Water Project [SVWP] will be distributed according to the Benefit Matrix for the Spillway Modifications. The zone ratios are:
Pressure Area: 6.3 Eastside: 4.8
Forebay: 2.5 Upper Valley: 2.3
Extended Upper Valley
Below: 2.8 Above San Antonio: 4.0
Arroyo Seco: 1
4. Costs for the proposed rubber dam component of the SVWP will be distributed according to the Benefit Matrix for the Diversion Structure. The zone ratios are:
Pressure Area: 1.2 Eastside: 1.0
ALL capital costs associated with this component will be paid solely by the Pressure and Eastside areas. The operation and maintenance costs for the Diversion Structure and the pumping station will be paid by those receiving delivered water (currently Zone 2B).
5. Administration: In addition to the above assessments, the committee has proposed a separate assessment to costs associated with the maintenance of the zone boundary and litigation costs. This will be a uniform assessment on all lands within Zone 2C of $0.97 per irrigated acre. There will be a cap on the total amount of dollars that can be collected and held in reserve --- this is to prevent the Agency from building a 'war chest'. This is discussed further below.
6. The Agency has prepared a draft resolution to be adopted by the Board of Directors and the Board of Supervisors. This Resolution addresses many of our outstanding issues. It is proposed that this Resolution will be adopted along with the cost allocation recommendations from the CAC. The following summarizes the Resolution:
a) Reiterates the three guiding principles adopted by the CAC: (1) consolidate zones 2 and 2a, (2) facilities shall be paid for in proportion to the benefits received, and (3) proposed or future projects shall be paid for in proportion to additional benefits received.
b) Modifies existing CSIP/SVRP Resolution to state: "Once all debt……has been retired, 2Y and 2Z Assessments shall be eliminated ad all operation and maintenance requirements for the CSIP/SVRP shall be supported through Zone 2B Assessments and Water Delivery Charges." HURRAY!!!! This means the $4.00 and $8.00 (plus CPI increase) will go away once all debt has been paid for these projects.
c) Once the Revenue Bonds used for construction of the Nacimiento hydroelectric Plant are paid in full, all revenue, including the County's 20% share, shall be retained by the Agency. Once this begins, surplus revenue up to $200,000 per year shall be assigned to the CSIP/SVRP --- with the balance of the revenue to be assigned to the Capital Asset Management Plan for the Agency's two reservoirs.
Representatives from one end of the Valley to the other, each with differing opinions and interests, have worked together to develop the recommendation before the MCWRA. The SVWC believes we each have given "something" up, but also believe that the end produce is worth supporting. In this work, each has expended considerab le time and resources engaging consultants and working with Agency staff to develop useful, factual, information supported by scientific data. We believe the recommendation, the matrix and the 'draft' resolution supports the findings, are equitable and reflect understandable and proportional cost-benefit analysis. We encourage your support.
The Monterey County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the Salinas Valley Water Project January 14, 2003.
Your ballot will be mailed to you around January 20, 2003.
Does this sound too confusing to you? Do you have questions? Do you want to hear more? Please join the Coalition for its annual Membership meeting January 28th and have your questions answered. The Agency will be making a presentation on the Salinas Valley Water Project and will also answer your questions about the Project as well as any about your ballot.
WATCH FOR YOUR NOTICE WITH MORE INFORMATION - COMING TO YOUR DOORSTEP THE FIRST OF JANUARY!