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Yuba Water Agency today approved the transfer of its property tax revenue, which totals approximately $500,000 per year, to Yuba County, where the funds can be used in ways that can more broadly impact the lives of Yuba County’s residents who need it most.
These funds will be added to the county’s general fund, where they can be used for a much broader array of services than the water agency is legally authorized to spend money on.
“We are limited by state law as to how we can spend our revenues,” said Yuba Water Agency Board Chairman Brent Hastey. “Our expenditures must be tied to our legal authorizations which cover reducing flood risk, ensuring a sustainable water supply, hydropower generation, fish habitat enhancement, recreation at New Bullards Bar and related purposes.”
For decades, the agency has received a small portion of property tax revenue to help with the cost of business outside of power and reservoir operations, which were previously paid by PG&E.
The property tax revenues were a consistent, important part of Yuba Water Agency revenues until 2016, That year, Yuba Water Agency’s power purchase agreement contract with PG&E expired and the water agency began receiving the revenue from the sale of that power generation, but also took on the responsibility for the associated expenses. That property tax funding is now only about 1 percent of the agency’s annual revenue.
“We want this money to continue working to improve Yuba County,” said Randy Fletcher, Yuba Water Agency vice-chairman and Yuba County supervisor for District 5. “Because the county has an array of services it provides, that tax revenue can be put to use in a way that will more directly impact the lives of Yuba County residents, through services and programs the water agency is not legally able to pay for. We hope transferring this tax revenue to the county will strengthen the county’s financial position, and allow the people of Yuba County who need it the most to receive improved services.”
Before the transfer of property tax revenue to Yuba County can proceed, the county is required to hold another public hearing, adopt a resolution of its own and file it with the auditor to appropriately adjust the tax revenue allocation.
The Yuba Water Agency Board of Directors unanimously agreed to transfer the property tax revenue with the condition that the transfer would expire after 10 years, so that the agency would have the ability in the future to reconsider it, in case its financial position changes in the future.