Residents in south Yuba County recently voted in favor of a new property assessment to help maintain levee operations, meet state and federal flood protection requirements and address internal drainage issues within Reclamation District 784.

Fifty-eight percent of the property owners that voted – the district’s boundaries include Plumas Lake, Linda, Arboga and Olivehurst – supported the assessment. In total, 1,843 of the 11,624 ballots were returned by the July 1 deadline, or about 16 percent.

The district’s board will hold a special meeting on July 10 to consider imposing the assessment, which would replace existing assessments collected by RD 784 and the Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority.

“Although the levees are stronger than ever before, they will only be as good as our ongoing maintenance of them,” said RD 784 General Manager Steve Fordice. “Funding is critical to ensuring they provide 200-year flood protection as designed. Also, we were falling way behind on internal drainage system funding, so the new assessment will allow us to start addressing deferred maintenance to bring that system up to state and federal standards.”

RD 784 is responsible for 33 miles of levee (along the Feather, Yuba and Bear rivers) that protect approximately 15,000 properties, as well as the boundary’s internal drainage system.

The majority of its funding comes from two sources: an existing property assessment established in 1998 and a property assessment established by the Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority. District officials say the revenues generated from the assessments are no longer enough to maintain its systems needed to meet state and federal regulations. In addition to that, a new levee is being constructed around the Yuba Goldfields to provide the area with a 200-year level of flood protection, which is required for urban areas.

The district proposed the new property assessment to help close a funding gap – estimated at $1.25 million for Fiscal Year 2019/20 – that it is experiencing in trying to keep up with operations and maintenance of its internal drainage service, as well as to help cover future services for both the levee system and its internal drainage systems.

“With adequate funding, we will be able to maintain (Federal Emergency Management Agency) accreditation for both systems, which ensures property owners have access to voluntary, low-cost flood insurance, and that responsible development can continue within the district’s boundaries,” Fordice said.

If approved by the district, the new assessment would replace the existing assessments starting this fall. Each individual property owner’s assessment will vary depending on a number of factors, including the location, size and type of property, as well as square footage and the types of structures that occupy the property.

The special meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the RD 784 offices – 1594 Broadway St., Arboga.

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