State regulations only allow connection fees for new construction to be used to increase capacity in the collection and treatment systems proportionate to the impact caused by the new development. Connection fees for new development may not be used to subsidize current usage or pay for treatment plant improvements needed to meet new regulatory requirements.
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In general, the increases are necessary to fund repairs and replacement of aging infrastructure and for work needed to comply with more stringent State regulations.
The Dry Creek and Sunset Sewer Districts are large, low population districts compared to some nearby urban community districts. Although fees may be different for a variety of reasons, in general, the cost per customer typically decreases as the number of customers increases. In highly populated urban communities, there are a large number of people to share fixed costs, resulting in lower fees per customer. Unincorporated Placer County districts are spread over a wide area and are not as densely populated as urban areas. This results in more miles of pipe to maintain per customer.
The rolling hills in these two districts require expensive pump stations to move the sewage. Fees in local districts that have similar topography such as some districts in Sacramento County, City of Lincoln, and City of Roseville are comparable to Dry Creek and Sunset Sewer rates.
State law prohibits utilities from offering discounts or providing subsidies, to ensure each property has the same access to, and use of, the sewer system for the same price. Each property has to pay the same amount for the same benefit, e.g., access to, and use of, the sewer system.
Administratively, it is more cost effective to bill annually. Billing monthly would require additional staffing and thus further increase sewer fees.
Placer County has been billing sewer fees on the tax roll for over 25 years.
The residential fee system is based on the average residential usage for a single-family residence. Public agency investigation into the number of individuals within a residence would require intrusion in the private lives of our customers to an unacceptable level and is infeasible from an administrative standpoint. The system used for billing is commonly in place throughout California.
A majority protest is reached when 50% plus 1 of the properties served by the sewer district object to the proposed fee increase.
The West Placer Municipal Advisory Council will receive an informational item regarding the proposed fee increase at their May 18, 2022 meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District Office – Community Room, located at 8849 Cook Riolo Road, Roseville.