The Forde Files No. 195
August 3, 2019
Tax got lower! – Agenda item No. 10 on the July 17 Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District board of directors meeting was an annual housekeeping resolution to determine the amount of tax required to meet the State Water Project (SWP) water supply contracts for fiscal year 2019-20 and establish the tax rate. District Business Manager La Minda Madenwald reported that the tax rate has dropped. "This year, for a $200,000 assessed value home, the tax will decrease $10 compared to the prior year (decrease from $113 in 2018 to $103 in 2019). The district calculates the rate to be levied by Kern County each year considering the increase or decrease in the forecast reserve balance. This year the rate is slightly lower due to a need to spend down the reserve fund balance and thereby refund those monies to the taxpayers." The district receives invoices for the SWP from the Kern County Water Agency, which is billed by the California Department of Water Resources. "In effect," Madenwald wrote in her staff report, "this tax pays the district's cost for water up to the point it is pulled from the California Aqueduct." The total revenue required from the tax for the 2019-20 fiscal year is $2,442,428. That number was divided by the total assessed value of the district, which is $4,758,010,952, to determine the required ad-valorem bond tax rate of 0.051333 percent. For comparison, the 2018-19 approved tax rate was 0.056778 percent.
Walmart water – In other water district business, the board terminated the service agreement with Walmart construction team Eleven Western Builders, transferring the contract to Walmart. The district's Term M&I (Municipal & Industrial) water rate in Zone 2 where Walmart is located is $436 an acre foot and requires a minimum purchase of five acre feet a year. The Regular M&I rate that the builders were paying is $1,385 an acre foot.
In the bank – Water district Manager Tom Neisler said the SWP allocation is at 75 percent. "We have much more water available this year than we can import," he said. "I anticipate banking in excess of 5,000 acre feet in the San Joaquin Valley this year."
Defending our allocation – Public speaker former Tehachapi Mayor John Rombouts expressed concern that future renegotiation might reduce the water district's contractual right to a maximum of 19,300 acre feet a year from the SWP (in the unlikely event of a 100 percent annual allocation). Neisler responded, "We will fight to the death over that allocation."
High-Speed Rail update – Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL2kYCtPjhA&feature=youtu.be to see videos of the more than a dozen active construction sites on the 119 miles of high-speed rail work in progress in the Central Valley. The high-speed rail construction has moved into Kern County, with utility relocation on Garces Hwy.