NCSD Rates, Fees, Annual Charges
Fee Study Background
The Nevada County Sanitation District No.1 is required to perform Rates studies approximately every 5 years. The most recent rate study was performed in 2021 and the first-rate increases in nearly 20 years were approved by the Board of Supervisors.
Customers pay an annual Sewer Standby charge in order to eventually connect to the system. To continue to meet our goal as well as address increased costs in materials, fuel, equipment, insurance, and construction coupled with the need for ongoing improvements to infrastructure, the District needed to increase Sewer Service charges over the next five fiscal years (FY, 2021-1025). Sewer Service Charge charges become effective July 1 of each year starting July 1, 2021.
Sewer Service Charges cover the District’s costs to provide wastewater maintenance and operation. Sewer Service Charges should also allow updates or rehabilitation to the existing wastewater infrastructure, payments on existing debt, and provide sufficient funding to pay for the cost of operation; of which, operating costs are projected to increase at a rate equal to or less than inflation.
With the increased Sewer Service Charges over the next five years, the District will continue to provide safe, reliable wastewater service. Meanwhile, Sewer Service Charges must continue to pay previous debt issued to fund large capital improvements in various zones. Once the existing debt is paid off, the funds currently allocated to the debt will be used to fund necessary capital projects. In addition, the District must build a six-month operating reserve in each zone to pay operating costs and cover the delay in receiving revenues bi-annually via the tax roll. Lastly, the District has set a target of generating enough capital reserves to cover the $341,000/year for capital improvement program amount between FY 2021-22 through FY 2025-26. The changes to the District’s Sewer Service Charges will meet the funding requirements of operations, debt, capital, and reserves.
Sewer Service Charges and Fee Study
A Wastewater Fee Study For All Zones was completed by the District’s consultant, HF&H Consultants (HF&H), in April 23, 2021. These changes reflected the projected costs of service and cover operating and capital expenses during the next five fiscal years, FY 2021-22 through FY 2025-26. The cost-of-service analysis was completed in April 2021 to ensure each zone’s share of the District’s costs was accurate. Please see the wastewater fee study.
Within each zone, the charge billed per Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU – a standard measure for wastewater quantity) was aligned with the costs to maintain and operate the system, pay the debt, and provide adequate funds to pay the bills and fund necessary capital improvement projects.
Annual Service Charges
If your property is connected to one of the Sanitation District's 10 zones, your Wastewater fees are billed through your annual property tax bill. You will not ever receive a monthly bill for services. If you are purchasing or selling your property, ownership information will be updated when the purchase or sale records with the County Recorder's office.
If you are currently not connected to the system and are an undeveloped parcel, you will only be assessed for these standby charges on your tax bill. Once the parcel is connected, your tax bill will reflect the full Annual Service Charge each year.
Annual Service Rates Document provides a breakdown of charges collected by zone through the Fiscal year 2025-26. For example see Consolidated #1, including Zone 1 Lake Wildwood, Zone 6 Penn Valley, and Zone 12 Valley Oak Court.
Review of Rate Study Time Line
A lot goes into preparing for a proposed utility rate increase and that preparation begins far in advance of the Public Hearing. Documented are a few key tasks that have taken place to ensure the Sanitation District is meeting all of the guidelines under Proposition 218 and providing sufficient justification and documentation for the increase.
- January 28, 2020 - Rate Study request approved by Board of Supervisors
- March 17, 2020 - Project kickoff with Consultant
- July 13, 2020 - Draft Model presented including COVID impacts
- October 8, 2020 - Consolidation scenario's presented
- January 4, 2021 - Updated draft Model presented for comment and review
- January 22, 2021 - Updated draft model presented for comment and review
- April 6, 2021 - Updated ear Final Draft Rate Study presented for final review and comment.
- April 8, 2021 - Rate Study Findings reported to Sanitation District Advisory Commission (SDAC) Members
- April 15, 2021
- Prop 218 Notice drafted and sent to Clerk of the Board for review and approval and Request Dated of Public Hearing.
- Confirmed Tax Roll Deadlines for Auditor's Office
- File Request to go to OEC
- Begin preparing Community outreach materials
- Schedule Date for mailing 218 Notices
- April 30, 2021- Launch Community Outreach materials via a variety of sources - 218 Mailings, NCSD Web Site, County News letter, Next Door.
- June 22, 2021 - Public Hearing at Eric Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Ave, Nevada City, CA . NCSD No. 1 approved the rate increase.
Have questions? Contact the Nevada County Sanitation District:
(530) 265-1411 or by email at NCSDRates@co.nevada.ca.us