Property owners soon will vote on a measure to help repair, improve City’s storm-drain system

The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a measure that soon will be voted on by property owners to fund repairs and improvements to the City’s Department of Utilities’ stormwater system.

The measure, which would help protect local water quality and prevent flooding, would generate about $20 million per year and include a new fee that would be paid by industrial, commercial and residential property owners.

The new fee will be used to repair and replace aging pumps and pipelines, reduce sewage overflows and protect drinking water quality, City Utilities Director Bill Busath said on Tuesday. It is expected to create 1,300 jobs over the next 10 years.

“Sacramento’s storm-drain system is up to 100 years old, and many levees, pipes and pumps are deteriorating rapidly,” Busath said. “Without repairs or improvements, many communities are at an increased risk of flooding and polluting our rivers and water sources.”

If the measure passes, the average single-family homeowner would pay an additional $6 per month.

Sacramento is considered to be among the top six cities in the nation that are most at-risk to flooding.

Proposition 218, which was passed in 1996, requires new fees on local stormwater systems be approved by voters and based on the service provided.

City of Sacramento property owners are scheduled to receive a special election ballot in the mail mid-Feburary. They will be due back by mid-March.

If approved, the new fee could go into effect by summer 2022. There has not been a new stormwater system fee since 1996.

“In May of 2020, the City Auditor did present a DOU drainage fund [report],” said Councilmember Mai Vang during Tuesday’s Council meeting. “The report that found that the current levels of revenue fall significantly below the funds that we need to properly invest in our infrastructure.”

“It is our job as a municipality to keep our citizens’ homes and lives free of localized flooding,” said Councilmember Jeff Harris.

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