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PROP 218 FAQ's

Prop 218 Frequently Asked Questions

How can I dispute/protest?

The owner of record or tenant (customer of record) of any parcel wishing to protest the proposed rate increases may mail or deliver a signed written protest to the District. Protests must be submitted in writing even if you plan to speak at the public hearing.  Written letters of protest must be received at the District prior to the close of the June 22, 2023 public hearing. Under Proposition 218, email protest letters will not be accepted. Protests must contain your name and a description of the property in which you have an ownership interest. A street address and/or the assessor’s parcel number are sufficient descriptions. If you were not the owner of record as of Marin County’s last tax roll, your protest must contain written evidence that you presently own the property, unless the protest is by a tenant (customer of record) who pays the utility bills.

If protests are submitted by a majority of parcels receiving sewer services from the District, the proposed rates will not go into effect.  Only one protest per parcel shall be counted. If the proposed sewer service charges are adopted, there is a 120-day statute of limitations for any legal challenge.

Can I dispute the proposed service charge increases and special tax adjustments verbally?
No. Under Proposition 218, SD5 must receive a written protest with a signature.

Are the Rate Increases listed on the Prop 218 Notice the final amounts that I will be charged?

The Board cannot decide to adopt rates that are higher than the sewer charges listed in the Prop 218 notice.  However, the Board can decide lower rates at the June 22, 2023 Board meeting.

Why is SD5 raising the service charges?
SD5 is committed to providing safe, reliable and high-quality wastewater collection, treatment and disposal services for our customers. As our, sewer systems age, it is important to continue investing in replacing, rebuilding and expanding them in accordance with a long-term, balanced financing plan. Based on the most recent board-approved financial plan, it has been determined that rate increases are necessary for SD5’s, wastewater service charges to enable the District to recover current and projected costs of operations and maintenance; fund capital infrastructure improvements vital for providing safe and reliable Wastewater treatment; maintain the operational and financial stability of the utilities; and avoid operational deficits and depletion of reserves. The proposed adjustments are designed to bring in the revenue needed to cover operating expenses and meet reserve fund requirements for vital capital projects.

Can SD5 ever charge more than the approved rates?
No – the District is only able to charge the rates approved through the Prop 218 process. The Board can decide to charge rates that are lower than the ones that were approved, but it can never raise rates without following the Prop 218 notice, hearing, and adoption procedures.

What accommodations are being made for people on fixed incomes who just can't afford a service charge increase?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to offer discounted rates to fixed income residents without making up the discount from some other source, and state law (Proposition 218) prohibits any property owner from being charged more than their proportional cost of service. In other words, SD5 cannot subsidize some of its customers by overcharging other customers.

How many protests will it take to stop a service charge increase?
Proposition 218 requires a simple majority of 50 percent of the affected parcels, plus one. What is the consequence if the proposed service charge is defeated by a majority protest?
The rate increase is needed to maintain the current level of service for all SD5 customers and pay for the costs of operating and maintaining complex collection and wastewater treatment systems. Without these rate increases, the public could see reduced levels of service.

When will the proposed rate increases take effect?
On June 22, 2023, the SD5 Board of Directors will hold a public hearing to consider the proposed service charge increases and special tax adjustments described in the Prop 218 Notice. The hearing (first reading) will begin at 5:00 p.m. at the Sanitary District No.5 of Marin County Administration Building, located at 2001 Paradise, Tiburon CA 94920 on June 22, 2023. The second reading and adoption will occur at the June 29, 2023 Special Board meeting. If adopted, the increase would take effect July 1, 2023.

How long will these rates be in effect?
The service charge increases will remain in effect indefinitely or until the SD5 Board of Directors decides to change them.