Proposition 218: Sewer Rate Changes (2020)

(June 16, 2020)

New sewer rate structure:

On June 16, 2020, Ironhouse Sanitary District (ISD) adopted a new rate structure. The rate structure adjusts the fees for existing user classes and establishes new user classes. These new fees will be assessed over five years, with rate increases being imposed during the first three years. 

  • The adjustment ensures that ISD is properly assessing sewer customers their proper share based on the amount and type of wastewater they discharge. 
  • Proposed fees are adjusted for each user class to ensure that they are equitable and appropriate. 
  • Sewer fees for some user classes will be reduced.

Proposed increase for Infrastructure Improvements: 

The sewer rate study also determined the need for increases in sewer service rates. Before this rate increase, the District had not raised rates in five years. The rates represent the lowest increase possible to fund the necessary capital improvements identified within the next five years. 

Why is the proposed rate increase needed?

  • ISD is funded primarily from wastewater service rates. 
  • ISD sets wastewater service rates at the lowest amount necessary to fund operating, maintenance, and infrastructure improvement expenses. 
  • The proposed rate increases are needed to fund $25.4 million of pipeline and treatment facility improvements that allow ISD to provide uninterrupted services and protect public health. 
  • Capital improvements over the next five years include: 
    • Reliability and Efficiency Improvements of the Water Recycling Facility – ISD operates a wastewater recycling facility 24/7 without disruption. The facility has operated since 2011 and requires $11.6 million of equipment replacement and reliability improvements to serve the ongoing needs of the community adequately.
    • Improvement of old sewer pipelines – ISD operates and maintains roughly 125 miles of sewer pipelines and 32 lift stations, which require $13.8 million in capital improvement work. 
  • Some of these pipelines are over 60 years old and need to be replaced.    
    • Some pipelines are undersized and need to be upgraded.
    • Lift stations are also in need of improvement, and other capital rehabilitation needs such as manhole coatings. 

Service fee payments:

The wastewater service fee is an annual fee on your property tax bill and is determined based upon the classification of your property (as listed in this notice and determined by District Ordinance) and the number of Equivalent Service Units (ESUs) assigned to each property. 

Residential customers are billed a flat rate for wastewater service that varies based on the type of residence (i.e., single-family, multi-family, mobile home, or boat berth) and the number of residential dwelling units per parcel. 

Non-residential customers are assigned ESUs, which are calculated for each parcel based on its actual average winter water use and sewage strength. Average winter water usage is the three consecutive month period of lowest water use during Fiscal Year 2018/19, November 2018 to January 2019. 

For more information, see the following information:
Prop 218 Brochure
ISD Sewer Rate Capacity Fee Study Report 
Prop. 218 Frequently Asked Questions (Updated)