Chapter 15.50


15.50.010    Findings and Intent.

15.50.020    Definition of Terms.

15.50.030    Storm Drainage Utility Enterprise Fund Created.

15.50.040    Setting of Fees and Charges.

15.50.050    Billing of User Charges.

15.50.060    Collection of User Charges.

15.50.070    Statutory Public Meeting.

15.50.080    Provision of Data.

15.50.090    Appeal to City Council.

15.50.010 Findings and Intent.

A.    The City of Santa Clarita is faced with increasing costs for the operation, maintenance, and improvement of water quality related to its storm drainage facilities.

B.    The City is required to undertake an extensive program to improve the water quality of its runoff in the near future under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permitting process. (NPDES).

C.    The City Council finds that current economic conditions will reduce funding for storm drain maintenance, thereby subjecting property within the City to damage from the storm and surface water runoff.

D.    An improperly maintained storm drainage system can create problems such as increased risk of flooding, personal injury and property damage.

E.    All developed real property and, to a lesser extent, undeveloped property, benefits from the existence of the City’s storm drainage system because these categories of property contribute storm and surface water runoff to the City’s storm drainage system as a result of the impervious and semi-impervious nature of the property.

F.    Existing City funds and funding sources are insufficient to fund the identified needs for operation and maintenance of the storm drainage system.

G.    Municipalities are authorized under California Government Code Section 54300 et seq. (the State Revenue Bond Law of 1941) to establish fees and charges for funding storm drainage improvements and the operation and maintenance thereof. Fees for storm drainage maintenance and improvement are also authorized under the California Health and Safety Code, Section 5471. No property-related fee or charge shall be imposed unless and until voter approval required by California Constitution Article XIIID, Section 6 (Proposition 218) has been obtained.

H.    The City Council finds that a need exists for additional funding for the storm and surface water management program of the City and that the establishment of a storm drainage utility enterprise with user fees and charges is the most equitable method of providing this funding.

I.    The amount of the proposed storm drainage utility enterprise user fees shall not exceed the reasonable cost of providing the services, facilities or regulatory activity for which the fee is charged.

J.    In order to provide for the safety of the residents of the City and protect property in the City from the damage associated with flooding and to meet the water quality requirements of the NPDES permit issued to the City by the California Water Quality Control Board, it is necessary to design, construct, operate, maintain, improve and replace storm drainage facilities which collect storm and surface water runoff and convey and treat such runoff in a safe manner to an acceptable point of discharge. In order to properly fund such facilities and activities, the City Council has determined that it is necessary to impose on all properties in the City a user charge for storm drainage service.

K.    In certain instances, it may be requested of the City to construct, operate, maintain, improve and replace additional water quality facilities that are site specific. In order to properly fund such facilities and activities, the City Council has determined that it is necessary to impose on all properties in the City directly affected by these specific water quality facilities a specific user charge in addition to the established storm water drainage utility service fees. (Ord. 94-7, 5/24/94; Ord. 00-2, 2/22/00; Ord. 09-15, 10/27/09)

15.50.020 Definition of Terms.

For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the ascribed meanings:

A.    “User” shall mean the person obligated to pay the Storm Drainage User Charge or other fees.

B.    “City” shall mean the City of Santa Clarita.

C.    “Engineer” shall mean the City Engineer of the City of Santa Clarita or his or her designee.

D.    “Developed Parcel” shall mean any lot or parcel of land which has been altered from its natural state by the construction, creation, or addition of Impervious Area, except public streets and highways.

E.    “Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU)” shall mean the basic unit for the computation of the Fee, and is based upon the average amount of Impervious Area of a Single Family Residential Parcel.

F.    “Impervious Area” shall mean any part of any Parcel that has been modified by the action of any person in a manner which reduces the land’s natural ability to absorb and hold Storm and Surface water. This includes the grading of the property and/or creation of any hard surface area which either prevents or retards the entry of water into the soil mantle, and/or the hardening of an existing surface which causes water to flow at an increased rate. By the way of example, common Impervious Area include, but are not limited to, roof tops, walk-ways, patios, driveways, parking lots or storage areas, concrete or asphalt paving, gravel roads, or any cleared, graded, paved, graveled, or compacted surface or paved earthen materials used for vehicular travel, or areas covered with surfaces which similarly impede the natural infiltration of surface water into soil mantle.

G.    “Multi-family Residential Property” shall mean all residentially zoned, developed parcels containing two (2) or more dwelling units. This includes apartments, condominiums, time shares, hotels and motels.

H.    “Non-residential Property” shall mean all developed parcels zoned or used for commercial, industrial, retail, governmental or institutional uses.

I.    “Parcel” shall mean the smallest separately segregated lot, unit, or plot of land having an identified owner, boundaries, and surface area which is documented for property tax purposes and given an Assessors’ parcel number by the Los Angeles County Assessor.

J.    “Land Use Code” shall mean the land use code utilized by the Los Angeles County Assessor for the purpose of identifying the existing land use for each “parcel” of land identified in the Assessor’s property records.

K.    “Single-family Residential Property” shall include all developed parcels developed with one single-family detached housing unit.

L.    “Storm and Surface Water” shall mean water occurring on the surface of the land from natural conditions such as rainfall, regardless of whether such water is falling or flowing onto the land in question.

M.    “Storm and Surface Water Control Facilities” shall mean all man made structures or natural watercourse facility improvements, developments, properties or interest therein, which are or have been made, constructed or acquired for the conveyance of Storm and Surface Water runoff to improve the quality of controlling, or protecting life or property from any storm, flood or surplus waters.

N.    “Storm Drainage Facilities” shall mean the Storm and Surface Water drainage systems comprised of Storm and Surface Water Control Facilities and any other natural features which store, control, treat, and/or convey Storm and Surface Water. Storm Drainage Facilities shall include all natural and manmade elements used to convey storm water from the first point of impact with the surface of the earth to a suitable receiving body of water or location internal or external to the boundaries of the City. Storm Drainage Facilities include all pipes, appurtenant features, culverts, streets, curbs, gutters, pumping stations, channels, streams, ditches, wetlands, detention/retention basins, ponds and other Storm and Surface Water conveyance and treatment facilities, whether public or private.

O.    “Runoff Factor” shall mean the factor identified for each “parcel” of land by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District for purposes of assigning a degree of imperviousness to said parcel. (Ord. 94-7, 5/24/94; Ord. 09-15, 10/27/09)

15.50.030 Storm Drainage Utility Enterprise Fund Created.

A.    Pursuant to State law, the City hereby declares its intention to designate the City’s storm drainage system as a utility, enterprise activity of the City to be supported all or in part by the imposition of user charges on all parcels of property within the City which discharge storm water to the City’s storm drainage facilities or are otherwise served by the City’s storm drainage facilities.

B.    The City hereby establishes a special fund within the City’s fiscal system to be known as the “Storm Drainage Utility Enterprise Fund,” herein after referred to as the Fund.

C.    All revenues from storm drainage user charges and other storm drainage related fees and charges as may be adopted by Resolution or Ordinance shall be deposited to the Fund.

D.    Expenditures from the Fund shall be limited to those expenditures for the improvement, repair, operation, maintenance and administration of the storm drainage facility as defined by the City Engineer and pursuant to the terms of the City’s NPDES permit. Provided that, the Fund may transfer to the General Fund of the City, the cost of the Storm Drainage Utility’s reasonable and proportionate share of the cost of the general City government support of the utility not covered by direct payments from the Fund. (Ord. 94-7, 5/24/94; Ord. 09-15, 10/27/09)

15.50.040 Setting of Fees and Charges.

A.    The City Council shall by Resolution or Ordinance establish a system of user charges for all parcels in the City.

B.    To the extent practicable, user charges shall be based on each parcel’s expected rate and volume of storm water runoff. The runoff factors established by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District shall be an acceptable measure of the expected rate and volume of storm water runoff from a parcel. Said fees shall not exceed the reasonable cost of providing the services, facilities or regulatory activity for which the fee is charged.

C.    The City Council may by Resolution or Ordinance establish a charge for the connection of any parcel to the City’s storm drainage facilities to reflect that parcel’s fair share of the cost of the existing City storm drainage facilities serving the parcel.

D.    The City Manager shall establish, in accordance with Chapter 3.32 of the Santa Clarita Municipal Code, appropriate fees for the review and inspection of storm drainage facilities proposed and constructed by private development.

E.    The City Council may by Resolution or Ordinance establish a system of charges and fees for the inspection of non-residential parcels for purposes of establishing compliance with the City Code and NPDES requirements related to the protection of storm water quality and may also establish a system of fines and/or penalties for the violation of the City’s storm water quality standards.

F.    The City Council shall by Resolution or Ordinance establish a system of specific user charges for any and all parcels within the City that utilize additional storm water runoff control and treatment facilities. These fees are in addition to the established storm water drainage utility service fees that are charged to parcels in the City. (Ord. 94-7, 5/24/94; Ord. 00-2, 2/22/00; Ord. 09-15, 10/27/09)

15.50.050 Billing of User Charges.

A.    The initial billing of storm drainage utility user charges shall be by means of the Los Angeles County Treasurer-Tax Collector tax statement and shall be a single annual charge based on the user charge for each parcel.

B.    The City Council may at any time elect to bill all or part of the parcels in the City on a City utility billing statement at such time and frequency as the City Council may deem appropriate. (Ord. 94-7, 5/24/94)

15.50.060 Collection of User Charges.

The storm drainage user charge shall be an obligation of the record owner of each parcel billed for storm drainage service. The charges shall be due and payable on the date the bill is used, and shall be considered delinquent if payment is not received within thirty (30) days of the date the payment is due and payable. The City shall impose a ten percent (10%) non-payment penalty on all delinquent accounts. An additional one percent (1%) penalty shall be imposed for each additional thirty (30) day period the amount remains unpaid. If the bill is not paid within sixty (60) days of the date the payment is deemed delinquent, the amount owing shall constitute a lien against the Parcel receiving the service, and the City shall include a statement on the bill notifying the Assessee of the lien as provided for in Health and Safety Code Section 5473.11. The lien shall remain in effect for three (3) years unless extended, and shall be released upon payment of the delinquent amount plus all penalties associated therewith.

Provided that, so long as the City shall bill the storm drainage user charges on the Los Angeles County tax statement the date when payment is due shall correspond to the due date of County tax payments. (Ord. 94-7, 5/24/94)

15.50.070 Statutory Public Meeting.

Pursuant to California Government Code Section 66018, the City Clerk shall cause notice to be provided as set out in Government Code Section 6062a, and the City Council periodically, at least annually, shall receive at a regularly scheduled meeting oral and written presentations concerning fees and charges proposed to be increased or added. Such notice, oral and written presentations, and public meeting shall be provided prior to the City Council taking any action on any new or increased fees or charges. At least one such public hearing shall be held annually, in conjunction with the City annual budget process and hearing. (Ord. 94-7, 5/24/94)

15.50.080 Provision of Data.

Pursuant to the California Government Code, at least ten (10) days prior to the required public hearing set out herein, the City Manager shall make available to the public appropriate data indicating the cost, or estimated cost required to support the fees and charges for which changes are proposed to be made or fees or charges imposed. The City Manager also shall provide a summary of the present fee and charge schedules and those proposed at such annual public hearing. A general explanation of such changes also shall be published per the requirements of Government Code Section 6062a. (Ord. 94-7, 5/24/94)

15.50.090 Appeal to City Council.

A.    Any person who feels that any fee or charge determined and set is in excess of the costs reasonably to be borne by their property, or that such fee or charge has been reviewed prior to or has not been reviewed within the review schedule as set out herein, may appeal in writing to the City Council.

B.    Such appeal shall be placed on the agenda of the next available Council meeting after receipt of such appeal and heard at the next regularly schedule Council meeting. Any changes to any fees or charges approved by the City Council shall take effect immediately upon hearing by the City Council unless ordered otherwise by the City Council. (Ord. 94-7, 5/24/94)