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Bill Signed By Governor Clarifies Stormwater Management Fees

August 8, 2014
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law clarifying how Proposition 218 applies to fees for domestic water supply. AB 2403 (Rendon) amends the definition of "water" in the Proposition 218 Implementation Act so that it is consistent with recent court decisions.
Approved by the voters in 1996, Prop. 218 imposed limits on local agencies’ ability to impose property-related fees. Although some property-related fees require voter approval, fees for water service do not. 
A 2013 appellate court ruling held that a fee imposed by the Pajaro Valley Water Agency to fund a program that included stormwater capture and treatment for the recharge of groundwater supply did not require voter approval. AB 2403 (Rendon) codifies this decision.
Cities may use property-related water fees to pay for harvesting stormwater to augment or treat water supplies.  However, fees imposed for the treatment of stormwater for environmental purposes only or for flood control purposes remain the type of property-related fees that require voter or property owner approval.  For more information on this topic, please see the technical assistance guide available on the League’s City Attorney Department webpage.

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