Rio Del Mar Flats Update

Rio Del Mar Flats Update

The County of Santa Cruz ("County") has secured grant funding for the construction of a pump station that would be used to prevent frequent flooding and rainfall ponding in the Rio Del Mar Flats area. To obtain the funding, the County must provide an additional funding solution to cover the cost of ongoing operation and maintenance services for the pump station. The County is considering forming an Assessment District as a funding solution for operation and maintenance. In this post, CivicMic shares a Rio Del Mar Flats update from the County.

Rio Del Mar Flats Update

The County has received many inquiries from members of the Rio Del Mar Flats community within the proposed Assessment District boundary about why the general public, as well as property owners in the upper watershed, are not contributing to the project’s maintenance.

In actuality, the general public has made a significant contribution. The general public has made this flood protection project possible because of $4.8M in grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the California State Department of Water Resources (DWR). These funding sources are derived from taxes collected, not only from the limited number of people who visit the beach and use the roads within the RDM Flats area but from a much larger group throughout the State of California and the United States. If the Assessment District does not get formed due to a majority protest, these grants will be rejected, and the RDM Flats community will lose out on benefitting from the grants that have already been secured for this project.

Additionally, properties within the boundary of the Santa Cruz County Flood Control and Water Conservation District Zone 6 have contributed $800,000 from revenues generated anywhere in the zone when these properties create impervious areas on their properties as they obtain permits for land development projects. Instead of spending the funds on other projects within Zone 6, these impervious area revenues have been banked for over 25 years. It will take much longer to generate such amounts in the future because most of the properties in the zone have been built out. Without the Zone 6 funding that is needed as a local match for the federal and state grants, Zone 6 staff would not have been able to apply for and secure approval for the $4.8M grant.

Without these $4.8M funds coming from the general public, the RDM Flats community would have to pay significantly more than what they are being asked to pay for the construction and maintenance cost.

Please note that the ballots will be tabulated after the close of the Public Hearing on August 24th, and if supported by the tabulation results, the Resolution of Formation will be considered on September 14th.

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7 thoughts on “Rio Del Mar Flats Update”

  1. Teresa and Jules Seeley

    What about the streets in the flats with the horrible potholes? This is dangerous and I have fallen once already.

    1. Hi Teresa and Jules,

      Although fixing potholes is not a part of the scope of this particular project, the pump station would help prevent future potholes by preventing street erosion due to water damage from frequent flooding.

      Hope this helps!

  2. I have voted YES for the project ; but I DO NOT UNDERSTAND why our RESIDENTIAL ROAD that sees A LOT OF TRUCK TRAFFIC has not been taken care of – that road being Marina Avenue !!!!!

  3. This ‘benefit’ assessment goes into perpetuity with a cumulative increase of 2.5% annually. The impact (benefit) is to those who live in the runoff zone. The project cost is funded by past tax collections. At issue is the ongoing maintenance being paid for by homeowners and businesses in the run-off/flooding area as our ‘benefit’ to pumping out all the upslope storm runoff – with NO Future on-going cost sharing from runoff contributing properties.
    What is the proposal going forward to address any inadequacy of funds? Ineffectual pumps? Who pays for that? I’d like to see an amendment or rider that states that runoff contributing properties can be assessed a distribution of ongoing costs.

    1. Hi Deborah,

      With an assessment district, the parcels being assessed must be identified and allocated their proportionate share of the cost associated with a special benefit. There is no ability within the legally established process to allow for the collection of assessments in the future should funds be inadequate for maintenance. The assessments are limited to the amounts described in the Engineer’s Report and subject only to the specified cost of living increases annually.

      Hope that helps.

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