Prop 218 Frequently Asked Questions
Prop 218 Frequently Asked Questions
How can I dispute/protest?
The owner of record or tenant (customer of record) of any parcel wishing to protest the proposed rate increases may mail or deliver a signed written protest to the District. Protests must be submitted in writing even if you plan to speak at the public hearing. Written letters of protest must be received at the District prior to the close of the June 1, 2022 public hearing. Under Proposition 218, email protest letters will not be accepted. Protests must contain your name and a description of the property in which you have an ownership interest. A street address and/or the assessor’s parcel number are sufficient descriptions. If you were not the owner of record as of Sacramento County’s last tax roll, your protest must contain written evidence that you presently own the property, unless the protest is by a tenant (customer of record) who pays the utility bills.
If a majority of the affected parcel owners submit written protests, the proposed rates will not go into effect. Only one protest per parcel shall be counted. There is a 120-day statute of limitations for challenging any new, increased, or extended fee or charge.
Can I dispute the proposed service charge increases and special tax adjustments verbally?
No. Under Proposition 218, RMCSD must receive a written protest with a signature.
Do I need to send a separate letter to protest each service?
No. You can identify each service for which you are protesting the proposed rate increases in one letter.
Are the Rate Increases listed on the Prop 218 Notice the final amounts that I will be charged?
No. The Board can decide to lower the rates until the Final Budget is adopted, and the Ordinance to raise the rates is adopted at the June 15, 2022 Board meeting.
Why is RMCSD raising the service charges and special taxes?
RMCSD is committed to providing safe, reliable and high-quality water, wastewater, and recycled water, security and solid waste collection and disposal services for our customers. As our water, sewer and recycled water systems age, it is important to continue investing in replacing, rebuilding and expanding them in accordance with a long-term, balanced financing plan. Based on the most recent board-approved financial plan, it has been determined that rate increases are necessary for RMCSD's water, wastewater, and recycled water service fees to enable the District to recover current and projected costs of operations and maintenance; fund capital infrastructure improvements vital for providing safe and reliable drinking water; maintain the operational and financial stability of the utilities; and avoid operational deficits and depletion of reserves. The proposed adjustments are designed to bring in the revenue needed to cover operating expenses and meet reserve fund requirements for vital capital projects.
Can RMCSD ever charge more than the approved rates?
No – the District is only able to charge the rates approved through the Prop 218 process. The rates can be lower than approved, but never higher without starting the Prop 218 notification process over.
What accommodations are being made for people on fixed incomes who just can't afford a service charge increase and special tax adjustment?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to offer discounted rates to fixed income residents without making up the discount from some other source, and state law (Proposition 218) prohibits any property owner from being charged more than their proportional cost of service. In other words, RMCSD cannot subsidize some of its customers by overcharging other customers.
However, there are two programs that the District is currently participating in to assist with homeowners who are unable to bring their accounts current due to Covid. The first program is SERA, which provides low-income renters assistance in paying their utility bills and rent. To apply, please visit: www.SHRA.org/sera. The second program is LIHWAP, through the California Department of Community Services & Development, which administers federal funding to assist households who are unable to pay their utility bills. To apply for federal funding, please visit https://www.csd.ca.gov/Pages/LIHWAP.aspx
How many protests will it take to stop a service charge increase and special tax adjustment?
Proposition 218 requires a simple majority of 50 percent of the affected parcels, plus one. RMCSD will count protests to water rates, wastewater rates, recycled water rates, security rates, and solid waste rates separately, to see if any have a majority protest.
What is the consequence if the proposed service charge increases and special tax adjustments are voted down?
The rate increase is needed to maintain the current level of service for all RMCSD customers and pay for the costs of operating and maintaining complex water treatment and distribution systems, collection and treatment systems for wastewater, as well as for security services and solid waste collection and disposal services. Without these rate increases, the public could see reduced levels of service.
When will the proposed rate increases take effect?
On June 1, 2022, the RMCSD Board of Directors will hold a public hearing to consider the proposed service charge increases and special tax adjustments described in the Prop 218 Notice. The hearing (first reading) will begin at 2:00 p.m. at the Rancho Murieta Community Services District Administration Building, located at 15160 Jackson Road, Rancho Murieta on June 1, 2022. The second reading and adoption will occur at the June 15, 2022 Regular Board meeting. If adopted, the increase would take effect July 1, 2022.
How long will these rates be in effect?
The service charge increases and special tax adjustments will remain in effect indefinitely or until the RMCSD Board of Directors decides to change them.