BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  SB 171
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          Date of Hearing:  June 12, 2013

                           K.H. "Katcho" Achadjian, Chair
                     SB 171 (Hueso) - As Amended:  April 8, 2013

           SENATE VOTE  :  29-8
          SUBJECT  :  Coachella Valley County Water District:  
          property-related fees.

           SUMMARY  :  Authorizes the Coachella Valley County Water District  
          to impose a fee in compliance with Proposition 218.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Authorizes the Coachella Valley County Water District  
            (District) to impose a fee, in compliance with Proposition  
            218, to pay the costs and expenses of carrying out projects  
            and providing services authorized under existing law.

          2)Clarifies that existing law that implements Proposition 218  
            applies to the District's current authority to levy benefit  

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Establishes the District to carry on the construction,  
            operation, and maintenance of works, improvements and  
            functions authorized by the Storm Water District Act of 1909. 

          2)Authorizes the District to raise funds by special assessment  
            on benefited land in proportion to the benefits derived by  
            benefited lands.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   None

           COMMENTS  :   

          1)Article XIII D of the California Constitution [Proposition  
            218, 1996] distinguishes among taxes, assessments and fees for  
            property-related revenues, and requires certain actions before  
            such revenues may be collected.  Counties and other local  
            agencies with police powers may impose any one of these  
            options on property owners, after completing the Proposition  
            218 process.  Special districts created by statute, however,  


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            must have specific authority for each of these revenue  

          2)The District was formed in 1918 to provide irrigation and  
            drinking water, collect and recycle wastewater, provide storm  
            water protection, replenish the groundwater basin, and promote  
            water conservation.  The District now provides services to  
            over 107,000 homes and businesses across 1,000 square miles  
            mostly within the Coachella Valley (Riverside County).  

            The District's enabling statute authorizes the District to  
            impose assessments, not fees.  This bill expands the  
            District's authorization to add the levying of  
            property-related fees to its current authorization for levying  
            assessments.  This bill is sponsored by the District.  

          3)This bill requires the District to comply with the provisions  
            of Proposition 218 which require a local government to  
            identify the parcels, calculate the fee for each parcel, and  
            conduct a majority protest proceeding 45 days after mailing  
            notice of a new fee to all fee payers.  Additionally, Article  
            XIII D, Section 6 subdivision (c) of the California  
            Constitution, provides, "Except for fees or charges for sewer,  
            water, and refuse collection services, no property related fee  
            or charge shall be imposed or increased unless and until that  
            fee or charge is submitted and approved by a majority vote of  
            the property owners of the property subject to the fee or  
            charge or, at the option of the agency, by a two-thirds vote  
            of the electorate residing in the affected area."  
            According to the author "There is one drainage system in the  
            Lower Coachella Valley which handles stormwater, agricultural  
            drainage, and now urban drainage.  Operation and maintenance  
            costs of the system are currently paid by the farmers in the  
            Lower Valley, but as farm areas are urbanized, the number of  
            farmers has decreased while urban drainage has driven the  
            costs up.  This bill would provide a mechanism for the  
            District to seek to charge urban development an equitable  
            share of the operation and maintenance costs of the drainage  
            system through the use of fees and charges, as an alternative  
            to the use of assessment districts, the formation and  
            implementation of which are cumbersome and costly."  

          4)The Legislature has previously granted the authority to impose  
            a fee consistent with Proposition 218.  AB 2554 (Brownley),  


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            Chapter 602, Statutes of 2010, authorized the Los Angeles  
            County Flood Control District to impose a fee consistent with  
            Proposition 218.  Additionally, AB 554 (Nava), Chapter 510,  
            Statutes of 2005, authorized the Ventura County Watershed  
            Protection District to levy a fee on taxable real property  
            both district-wide and by zone.  

          5)The title of this bill is currently "The California Seed Law"  
            which reflects the contents of a prior version of the bill.   
            Committee staff is aware that Legislative Counsel is updating  
            the bill title to reflect the current version of the bill.  

           6)Support arguments  :  Supporters argue that this bill "provides  
            a mechanism to collect equitable fees and other charges to  
            fund the continued operation and maintenance of the drainage  
            system with respect to urban users in the Lower Valley."  
              Opposition arguments  :  None.


           Support                              Opposition
          Coachella Valley Water District [SPONSOR]None on file
          Association of California Water Agencies
          City of Rancho Mirage
          Desert Valleys Builders Association
          Noble & Company, LLC
           Analysis Prepared by  :    Misa Yokoi-Shelton / L. GOV. / (916)