Ballots to vote on a maximum $10 per acre assessment mailed to landowners
The Greater Kaweah Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) is holding a Proposition 218 Election to fund local implementation of the unfunded State law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Ballots have been mailed to Greater Kaweah GSA landowners to vote on a maximum $10 per acre assessment that would provide revenue for administration and implementation of the Groundwater Sustainability (GSP), a requirement of the law.
Local GSAs like the Greater Kaweah are unfunded by the State yet are tasked with bringing groundwater use to balance by 2040. The Proposition 218 Election is a mechanism for the Greater Kaweah GSA to locally generate revenue to implement sustainable groundwater management under SGMA on behalf of its landowners.
Compliance with SGMA is not optional and is best accomplished locally to ensure stakeholders have input and solutions that benefit the region are implemented. Without landowner approval for Greater Kaweah GSA funding, there will likely be fewer resources to implement the GSP and comply with SGMA, which could result in costly State Intervention. Securing funds ensures the Greater Kaweah GSA and its landowners can avoid the uncertainties and potential costs associated with fees in a State Intervention scenario.
Public Notice, ballots, and an informational flyer were mailed the week of March 15 to notify landowners of the election and provide notice of a Public Hearing set for May 10, 2021 at 1:00 PM. Ballots to vote on the proposed $10 per acre maximum annual assessment were included with the Public Notice and must be submitted by the close of the Public Hearing (how to submit your ballot). A majority approval, over 50% of the weighted ballots, is needed for the assessment to pass and ultimately secure funding for local groundwater management. The election is land-based, and votes are weighted by acreage.
Who is included in the election?
All assessable parcels within the Greater Kaweah GSA excluding parcels smaller than four acres, government-owned parcels, public right-of-way (roads and highways), and parcels not entirely within Greater Kaweah GSA’s boundary, are eligible to vote in the election. If the election passes, those eligible parcels would be assessed up to but not exceeding the $10 per acre maximum.
How was a $10 per acre assessment amount determined?
The $10 per acre land-based assessment was determined by the development of an Engineer’s Report, approved by the Board on March 1, 2021, outlining a 6-Year proposed budget for GSP administrative implementation. The Engineer’s Report was prepared in accordance with State law to describe the equitable distribution of the benefit assessments to be derived by each parcel within the Greater Kaweah GSA upon which assessments will be levied.
How long do landowners need to pay the assessment?
The Board will set the assessment rate at or below $10 per acre on an annual basis for the 6-year time horizon granted by the election. The ongoing costs included in the 6-year budget include but are not limited to, basin coordination/policy development, engineering and consultants, various types of monitoring, annual reporting, data management, and preparation for 5-year GSP updates.