NOTE: The information provided in this notice is not exhaustive; for an explanation of the proposed new benefit assessment and directions on the procedures for voting on the proposed new benefit assessment, record owners of property within Westlands should reference the notice and Official Ballot mailed out on July 14, 2017.
Effect of New Assessment Methodology
On July 14, 2017, the District mailed out a notice to record owners of property within Westlands Water District which provided information on a proposed new benefit assessment by the District. Along with the notice, landowners received an assessment ballot (“Official Ballot”) to vote either in favor of or against the proposed new assessment. The proposed benefit assessment is subject to a Proposition 218 protest hearing, which is scheduled for Tuesday, August 29, 2017, at 8:00 a.m. at the District’s Fresno office. If the number of votes (weighted according to the acres per APN and proposed assessment rate) on ballots submitted in opposition to the proposed assessment rate exceed the number of votes on ballots submitted in favor, the Board will not impose the proposed benefit assessment rate.
The proposed benefit assessment shifts costs currently covered through the long-term water supply land-based charge and the four O&M land-based charges to a benefit assessment. Several District landowners have asked whether the proposed new benefit assessment will increase their payments to the District. The collection of revenues authorized by the adoption of the proposed new benefit assessment, if approved by the landowners, will not generate additional revenue for the District beyond what has been included in the District’s budget based on approved rates and charges. In other words, revenue to pay District costs and obligations currently collected through land-based charges or water rates will be collected through the proposed new benefit assessment if it is approved by the landowners. However, the assessment may increase or decrease the amounts payable to the District by individual landowners in comparison to prior years.
To help landowners understand how the proposed new benefit assessment might affect them, the District has included several examples in this notice. By comparing a copy of your 2017- 2018 land-based charge bill to the Official Ballot, a landowner can determine whether his or her payments to the District would increase or decrease as a result of the adoption of the proposed new benefit assessment. The costs that may shift from land-based charges to the new proposed assessments are not on a one-to-one basis for every landowner.
The examples on the following pages are intended to provide some assistance to landowners:
Example No. 1: Land is eligible for CVP allocation and the landowner currently pays the longterm water supply (LTWS) land-based charge (LBC) and all four O&M land-based charges (LBCs).
Example No. 2: Land is eligible for CVP allocation and the landowner currently pays the LTWS LBC and the O&M Costs All Lands and O&M Costs Lands with Allocation LBCs.
Example No. 3: Land is not eligible for CVP allocation and the landowner currently pays the O&M Costs All Lands and O&M Costs Lands with System LBCs.
Example No. 4: Land is not eligible for CVP allocation and the landowner currently pays the O&M Costs All Lands LBC.
Example No. 5: The land is considered Municipal and Industrial/Commercial use and the landowner currently does not pay LBCs.
The law requires an engineer’s report to be prepared to support a new assessment. The District hired CH2M Hill in part to inform the proposed new benefit assessment and to develop the Engineer’s Report. CH2M Hill prepared an Engineer’s Report for the District that supports the proposed new benefit assessment. This Engineer’s Report has been posted on the District’s website as of July 21, 2017.
In order to be counted, the Official Ballots must be properly completed and returned to the District prior to the conclusion of the Proposition 218 protest hearing scheduled for Tuesday, August 29, 2017, at 8:00 a.m. at the District’s Fresno office. The proposed new benefit assessment cannot be adopted unless the number of weighted votes favoring the proposed new benefit assessment exceed the number of weighted votes opposing the proposed new benefit assessment.
If you have questions, please contact the District Secretary, Bobbie Ormonde, at (559) 241- 6203.
The deadline for submitting this form has passed. If you have questions, please call customer accounting at: (559) 241-6250