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Yuba County will save more than $315,000 over the next year with the help of a $14.4 million low interest loan from Yuba Water Agency to pre-pay the county’s annual California Public Employees' Retirement System payment.
“Yuba Water has carefully managed its reserves to be able to accommodate loans exactly like this,” explained Kurtis Crawford, Yuba Water’s director of finance. “The agreement saves the county significant money and has no negative impact on our reserves, since we’ll still be earning the same interest in repayments as we would from keeping the money in savings. It’s really a win-win for all.”
The loan will allow the county to make its annual payment to CalPERS in one lump sum, rather than financing it through CalPERS at a much higher, seven percent interest rate. Yuba Water has helped cover the county’s unfunded liability portion of its CalPERS payment since 2017. The county in turn has made monthly payments to the agency.
Unfunded pension liability is the gap between future benefits a pension fund expects to pay out and its current assets.
Flood risk reduction
In addition, Yuba Water approved a $3 million line of credit and a grant worth up to $2 million for the Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority. The funds will help TRLIA close out several state and federal grant agreements related to its work to provide a 200-year level of flood protection for south Yuba County, which it recently achieved following years of local, state and federal efforts and more than $500 million in investments. This level of protection is among the highest in the Central Valley and means there is a one in 200 chance in any given year of a flood occurring that is larger than the system is designed to handle.
The $3 million line of credit is expected to be repaid in full by TRLIA upon reimbursement from the state.
Yuba River habitat restoration
Yuba Water also granted the South Yuba River Citizens League $350,000 to support a habitat restoration project at Lower Long Bar on the lower Yuba River. The project will create nearly 43 acres of restored salmon habitat at a total cost of approximately $3.2 million. The grant from Yuba Water will cover a budget shortfall and allow construction of the Lower Long Bar Restoration Project to begin immediately, ensuring that the project can be initiated and completed this year.
“Considering the challenging conditions for fish throughout the state due to California’s ongoing drought, this project couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Jeff Mathews, Yuba Water’s habitat enhancement project manager.