Friday, April 27, 2007

Flood Protection Tax

This is a good first step towards achieving the gold standard in flood protection, a 500 level, which most other major river cities have achieved, including Tacoma, St. Louis, Dallas, & Kansas City, while New Orleans had 250 year protection when Hurricane Katrina hit.

One hopes public leadership soon adopts the gold standard as their goal for our community, removing us, even with this new work—which will only achieve 200 year protection—from the bottom of the list of well protected river cities from future flooding.

Voters back flood tax
Higher property assessment will pay to shore up Folsom Dam, local levees
By Phillip Reese - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Friday, April 27, 2007

Sacramento-area voters have overwhelmingly approved a $326 million property tax to improve Folsom Dam and local levees, sanctioning a down payment that supporters say will bring greater flood protection to the area.

The results, announced Thursday at a board meeting of the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, were lopsided: Almost 82 percent of the weighted votes were in support of the measure; the rest opposed it.

All told, about 45,000 ballots were cast by property owners, with just more than 800 of those ballots deemed invalid.

Some ballots had more votes than others, depending on each property owner's assessment amount.

"For those of us who represent people who live in the floodplain and are at risk, this is momentous," said county Supervisor Roger Dickinson, a SAFCA board member.

Under the approved measure, a new assessment district will replace two existing districts.

The average property tax increase is about $35 a year.

Money raised by the tax will provide a local match for state and federal funds -- together, they will build projects costing $2.68 billion.

Some of the matching funds come from Proposition 1E, the flood-safety bond statewide voters approved in November.

"This assessment is about paying the local match," said Jay Davis of Gualco Consulting, which works with SAFCA.

"Otherwise, those funds will not come our way."

The assessment ballot was driven, in part, by revelations last year that Natomas levees do not meet a minimum 100-year level of flood protection.

But the money would pay for projects throughout the area, including upgrades to Folsom Dam and levee strengthening along the American and Sacramento rivers.

It's expected to restore 100-year flood protection to Natomas in three to five years and provide 200-year flood protection citywide within a decade.