PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 26, 2016
The Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency met with the Sacramento Taxpayers Association on May 19, 2016 to discuss SAFCA’s proposal to replace its existing Consolidated Capital Assessment, passed in 2007, with a new tax assessment that would dramatically increase annual flood assessments on Sacramento homeowners.
Members of SacTax voted to oppose the new increased assessment over numerous questions and concerns, including noting that the poorest areas of the SAFCA flood district would end up bearing a disproportionate, unfair share of the overall assessment burden.
While SacTax has numerous specific concerns with this proposal (see below), our overarching concern is that the assessment proposal is the product of a persistent failure of regional and state political leaders to deal with the risk of flooding in an integrated and responsible manner. Our political leaders are placing inordinate reliance on levee improvements and are largely ignoring the critical need for our region to build additional water surface storage capacity to hold back the flood waters that will always endanger our region. Responsible flood control management requires deploying multiple strategies to reduce or prevent flooding.
Building additional water surface capacity serves two critical regional goals. It will provide much more effective and reliable flood protection than our region’s current reliance on inherently more vulnerable levees. Additionally, building additional storage capacity will capture high volumes of seasonal run-off that will lessen the devastating impact of multi-year droughts on our communities, our industries and our economy.
We note that regional political leaders in Southern California have demonstrated real leadership and political courage in making substantial new investments in water storage capacity in their region in recent years, actions which served them well by lessening the impact of our most recent statewide drought. It is long past time for political leaders in the Sacramento region to do the same, particularly since we are at much greater risk of devastating flooding than Southern California.
We urge regional leaders to convene a Sacramento Flood Control Summit with all stakeholders and commit to making the investments in the construction of new surface storage capacity that our region badly needs. Then and only then should SAFCA return to homeowners with a proposal to fund a balanced and responsible plan that will provide real, lasting flood protection for our region.
The many additional concerns the Sacramento Taxpayers Association has with the proposed additional assessment include:
- Whether there is a set of actual needs for the proposed assessment increase, as distinguished from regulatory mandates that could be mitigated politically?
- Will there be an independent oversight committee and performance audits to monitor district spending?
- Will SAFCA issue debt all at once or as the projects progress?
- SAFCA says the new, more stringent levee standards being imposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are not necessary to maintain adequate flood protection for Sacramento, but no one in California’s Congressional delegation (which includes two U.S. Senators) will do anything about it. SacTax agrees and believes the Corps standards are unreasonable. We call on our Congressional delegation to act.
- SAFCA has failed to do adequate, early outreach to stakeholders on this proposal, including taxpayer groups. Without complete information, how can the public know what is going on?
- Some of the poorest areas in the SAFCA flood district would bear the greatest assessment burdens.
SAFCA representatives said the new assessment is needed to fund the local cost share for projects to protect Sacramento from extreme floods.
Since the 2007 assessment, new state legislation and federal administrative actions have moved the bar on flood protection standards and now require additional improvements. Without these improvements, SAFCA says the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined that many levees in Sacramento would not meet its latest design standards to provide at least a 100-year level of flood protection.
In order to fund the additional improvements, SAFCA is proposing to replace the existing CCAD with the new, higher costing assessment. Assessment amounts will vary based on the flood risk reduction benefit received by each property in the district. Property owners have an opportunity to decide via a mail balloting process whether or not CCAD 2 should be formed.