Los Angeles County City Managers Stormwater Funding Options Report

Date / Time:
Wednesday, Sep 17 1:55pm to 3:00pm
Grand Ballroom F
Track / Session:

Financing stormwater quality improvement programs is one of the greatest challenges facing municipal agencies in California. This presentation reviews the findings of the City Managers Stormwater Funding Options Report (Report). The goals of this presentation are to assist municipalities and others in evaluating potential funding methods, and to further engage CASQA members in the vital conversation about developing new, reliable funding sources in a regulatory environment in which the growth and cost of mandated stormwater management actions far outpaces the available funding.

The Report was developed as a result of evolving conditions regarding stormwater funding in the Los Angeles region. The Los Angeles County Flood Control District (LACFCD) led a multi-year effort to develop a sustainable revenue source for municipalities to manage stormwater programs and implement water quality improvement projects, which included development of a proposed parcel fee, the “Clean Water, Clean Beaches Measure,” to fund clean water programs. At extended protest hearings in early 2013, the Los Angeles. County Board of Supervisors heard concerns from stakeholders and the public and determined to “not proceed at this time with the Clean Water, Clean Beaches measure as proposed.” In June 2013, the Board adopted a motion requesting collaborative participation with the County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County (LACSD) and other wastewater management agencies to evaluate methods, assess the a potential model governance structure, and help identify and secure other sources of funding.

In response, the City Managers Committees of the California Contract Cities Association and the League of California Cities, Los Angeles Division met with stakeholders on June 27, 2013 to hear their concerns and suggestions directly. The City Managers authorized a Work Group to review stormwater funding options after the County’s proposed funding initiative failed to move forward. This City Managers Work Group actively sought the input of key stakeholders from the environmental, public education, and business communities, and prepared the Stormwater Funding Options Report to assist the Board, local decision makers, stakeholders, and the public in reaching a common understanding of current funding issues and potential solutions.

The Report describes the complexities of funding stormwater programs, makes recommendations for development of a regional fee, and addresses options open to Permittees in the absence of a regional fee. Some of the tools, ideas, and concepts covered in the presentation include:

• The regulatory framework for stormwater management;
• Review of estimated stormwater program compliance costs;
• The implications of Proposition 218 and potential solutions to problems it creates;
• The necessity for a multi-pronged approach;
• “Pros and cons” of a variety of funding options;
• The potential for modeling a governance structure after other agencies to manage stormwater in the future;
• Evolving opportunities; and
• Suggestions from an Elected Officials Committee and a City Attorney.

A critical component of the presentation will be an extended question-and-answer period to engage the audience in conversation about the ideas presented and to foster the collaboration necessary for municipalities to fund required stormwater management efforts.

The goal of the City Managers Stormwater Funding Options Report is to recommend steps that local governments can take to assist in funding the new stormwater mandates. Attendees will take away an understanding of lessons learned from Los Angeles County’s fee effort, an understanding of the complexity of funding problems, the importance of building consensus on a path forward, and potential ways to devote resources to work toward successful funding.

Primary Speaker:
Richard Watson, Richard Watson & Associates, Inc.
Richard Watson is President of Richard Watson & Associates, Inc., an urban and regional planning firm based in Mission Viejo. He is a geographer/planner with 40 years of professional planning experience, including over 23 years in the development and implementation of the stormwater quality program in California. He has been a member of CASQA since its inception. He currently serves as co-chair of CASQA’s Watershed Management and Impaired Waters Subcommitte and member of the Executive Program Committee, and was a past member of the CASQA Board of Directors.