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By Corey Costelloe
Assistant to the City Manager 

Highlighting success within the economic landscape of our community

Economic Development Update


February 29, 2020

Corey Costelloe

City Council updates connection, water/sewer fees

The Tehachapi City Council recently approved a new slate of water and sewer connection fees that result in a net-decrease for new businesses looking to invest and build in the City of Tehachapi.

Led by the Development Services Department, the City of Tehachapi contracted with MKN and Associates for an in-depth study on the rates for new commercial and residential construction projects as it pertains to potential expansion of the City's water and sewer treatment facilities as growth is appropriate. The intent of the studies does not specifically target an increase or decrease in fees, but to ensure the proper amount is being charged to new development.

MKN produced updated, detailed water and sewer system atlas maps displaying up-to-date information about existing systems for use by the City Utility Department and the City Engineering Department. This data was then input to a detailed hydraulic model for the City's water and sewer system and the models were then used to evaluate the City systems for any anomalies or deficiencies. Working with City Staff, MKN produced projected 10-year growth scenarios for the City itself, based on these growth projections, MKN modeled the impacts to the City utility systems and projected required system improvements to address these growth impacts while establishing updates to the City water, sewer, and sewer trunk main fees.

As a result, several of the fees were reduced, for example the water connection fee went from $6,708 to $2,047 per equivalent dwelling unit (EDU), sewer treatment and disposal fees were reduced from $7,259 to $4,822 per EDU as well. There was one increase to the businesses looking to build on the Tucker Road commercial corridor as the sewer trunk fee increased from $600 to $1,935. Additionally, the City did adopt a new 'water entitlement fee' for developers that increased the price per EDU from $500 to $3,148. This fee will be used to purchase water rights on the open market in the adjudicated Tehachapi basin, assist in constructing the Groundwater Sustainability Project or import a 20-year water supply to support the development from Tehachapi County Cummings Water District, the local water master. Developers that possess water rights would have the option of turning those rights over to the City in lieu of the fee.

The new fee structure results in a net reduction for many projects, for example, if a developer was interested in developing a fast-casual restaurant along Tucker Road, under the old fee structure the total due would have been $119,621. After the adoption of the new fee structure last week, that total for water/sewer connection, water entitlement and Tucker Trunk connection is reduced to $91,283. These savings are increased in other areas of the City where the trunk connection is not necessary.

These type of studies, updates to facilities and appropriate fees are in line with the direction of the Tehachapi City Council who believes that development pays their own way, not current residents and users of the City utility systems. This latest update strikes a balance that assures necessary expansions when appropriate but doesn't overburden new development.

City of Tehachapi receives two CALED Awards

The City of Tehachapi has received two 'Awards of Merit' from CALED for a pair of projects in 2019. The project at 228 W. Tehachapi Blvd. which is now the World Wind & Solar headquarters was recognized in the "Collaborations" category while the Tehachapi Neighborhood Improvement Project was recognized as a "Best Program" for promoting of the mission of economic development and community enhancement. The awards will be presented March 26 at the 40th Annual CALED Conference in Sacramento.

Resources for business

Representatives from the Tehachapi Adult School recently presented to the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce about the WIOA program available for employers. This program matches 18 to 24 years olds with career opportunities, paid and non-paid work experience, with ongoing support and guidance from vocational personnel. For more information about this no-cost resource for employers contact WIOA Coordinator Natalia Moessner at or (661) 822-2112.

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