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PROJECTS - Assessment District Info

Flood Depths Map

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Proposed Property Assessment Information

Smith Canal levees do not meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) minimum level of flood protection. In addition, a pump station that is required to keep flood waters away from your property is old and falling apart and must be replaced. As a result, FEMA has placed your property in a high-risk flood zone. In that case:

  • You are required to purchase flood insurance at rates as high as $3,300 per year, if you have a mortgage. Congress recently passed legislation that will result in big rate increases for flood insurance. Some people now paying hundreds of dollars per year could wind up paying thousands.

  • Building restrictions will prevent new construction, and repairs and upgrades that equal more than 50 percent of your home's value, unless the structures are elevated by as much as 10 feet.

  • Property values may be impacted, and it may become more difficult to sell your home, especially if your buyer needs a mortgage. Mortgaged properties are required to have flood insurance.

In order to remove properties from a high-risk flood zone, two projects must be constructed:

  1. The San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency (SJAFCA) - in partnership with Reclamation Districts (RD) 1614 and 828 - is planning to build, operate and maintain the Smith Canal Gate. SJAFCA received a state grant to pay 50% of project design and environmental work ($4.8 million total cost). However, the remaining half must be funded locally (the local cost share). The state has several programs under which SJAFCA can also seek funding for up to 55% of project construction costs once a design and the environmental work is completed.

  2. Separately, RD 1614 is planning to replace the failing Wisconsin Pump Station with a new station designed to meet current pumping requirements. RD 1614, in partnership with the Stockton East Water District, is seeking a state grant to pay for 50% of the project costs ($2.6 million total). The property assessment would fund the remaining share ($1.3 million).

To pay the required local cost share for the design and construction of the projects, SJAFCA - separately RD 1614 - are proposing to assess properties that benefit from these projects since they do not have funds to construct either project. Properties assessed will benefit from avoided flood damages. This means:

  • High-cost flood insrance will not be required. However, property owners are strongly encouraged to purchase flood insurance, and can do so at much lower (preferred) rates.

  • Structures will not have to be elevated for new construction, or repairs and upgrades.

  • Property values may be protected as a result of having stronger flood protection.

Questions? Call the Assessment Hotline at 209-487-1387.

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Smith Canal Gate

Every property's proposed assessment is different, based upon the following factors:

  • Type of property (single-family or multifamily residential, vacant, commercial, government, etc.)

  • Size of parcel (.20 acre, half acre, etc.)

  • Size of structures on the property (in square feet)

  • Amount of flood depth reduction as a result of the project (measured in 2-foot increments)

Wisconsin Pump Station

Every property's proposed assessment is different, based upon the following factors:

  • A runoff factor based on the type of property (single-family or multifamily residential, vacant, commercial, government, etc.)

  • Size of the parcel (.20 acre, half acre, etc.)

When both assessments are considered, the combined Single Family Residential assessments average $326 per year. Some assessments will be lower and other higher, depending upon the type of property, size of the parcel, size of structures on the property, and the flood depth reduction.

 

Questions? Call the Assessment Hotline at 209-487-1387.

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Why an Assessment?

A gate at Smith Canal, along with a new pump station, will reduce flood risk, remove thousands of properties from a FEMA high-risk flood zone, prevent thousands more from being placed in a FEMA high-risk flood zone, and remove the requirement to buy flood insurance. It will also reduce the cost of flood insurance for those who wish to purchase it for their property.

Fact: Assessment revenues will be used to design and construct the projects. In the case of the flood gate, assessment revenues will also be used to also operate and maintain the facilities. Assessment revenues cannot be used for anything else.

Fact: The Smith Canal levees do not meet FEMA's minimum level of flood protection.

Fact: Unless a gate is constructed at Smith Canal and the Wisconsin pump station is replaced, then additional properies protected by the levees and drained by the pump station will remain in a high-risk flood zone. Properties currently in a high-risk flood zone will remain subject to mandatory flood insurance requirements and building restrictions.

Fact: Approximately 5,000 properties were placed in a high-risk flood zone in October 2009. FEMA has announced plans to place approximately 2,800 additional properties within a high-risk flood zone within the next few years.

Fact: Flood insurance is mandatory for property owners with mortgages, and building restrictions will remain in effect unless both projects are constructed.

Fact: Once the Smith Canal flood gate and the pump station are constructed, the area will meet FEMA's standards for flood protection.

Fact: In that case, thousands of properties will be removed from or avoid being placed in the high-risk flood zone, ending mandatory flood insurance and protecting property owners' rights to construct, improve, or replace structures.

Fact: Congress has directed FEMA to change the way it calculates flood insurance rates. The proposed changes will result in significant cost increases in flood insurance over time. This project will prevent property owners from paying these mandatory, high cost rates.

 

Questions? Call the Assessment Hotline at 209-487-1387.

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How Much Will I Pay?

Under the California Constitution's requirements, the assessments are based on the benefit each property receives from better, stronger flood protection. Specifically, for the Smith Canal gate, each property benefits from a reduction in potential flood damages to structures, their contents and land. All other factors being equal, properties that avoid the deepest flooding receive more benefit than those in areas with shallow flooding. Similarly, properties with larger structures receive more benefit than those with smaller structures. Thus, properties that receive more benefit will be assessed more than those that receive a lesser benefit. You can read the entire methodology in the Smith Canal Engineer's Report and the Wisconsin Pump Station Engineer's Report.

For the Smith Canal gate assessment, the benefit to each property is calculated using a formula that includes:

  • Structure and Content Damage (based on structure type and size and reduction in flood depth), and

  • Land Damage (based on land use and acreage)

For the Wisconsin Pump Station assessment, the benefit to each property is calculated using a formula that includes:

  • A runoff factor based on the type of parcel (residential, commercial, etc.)

  • The size of the parcel

The amounts of your individual assessments as a property owner will be included on your assessment ballots. You will receive two separate ballots, one each from SJAFCA (Smith Canal) and RD 1614 (Wisconsin Pump Station).

 

The proposed assessment amount for each property is individually calculated. You will receive one ballot per property owned which will list the actual amount of the proposed assessment on your property.

 

The proposed assessment district map shows potential flood depths for a 100-year storm, or a storm that has a 1% chance of happening in any given year. FEMA has placed, or will place properties in a Special Flood Hazard Area unless a gate is constructed at Smith Canal, which would meet FEMA's requirements for 100-year flood protection.

 

Questions? Call the Assessment Hotline at 209-487-1387.

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How Do I Vote?

Step 1: Ballots will be mailed the week of April 22 to all property owners within the proposed assessment districts. All property owners will receive the Smith Canal Gate ballot, and some will also receive the Wisconsin Pump Station ballot, depending on the property location. Assessment amounts specific to each property will be listed on the ballot.

Step 2: Ballots must be returned so they are received by June 6.

Step 3: Ballots can be submitted in person at a public hearing at 7 p.m. on June 6. Property owners can also attend the hearing to change their votes, if they already submitted their ballots by mail.

Step 4: If the majority of property owners in each proposed assessment district (measured by their proposed assessments) support the projects, the SJAFCA Board and RD 1614 Board are permitted to collect the assessment.

 

Questions? Call the Assessment Hotline at 209-487-1387.

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