YUCCA VALLEY — Hi-Desert Water District is prepping for the first flush for the sewer project and on Wednesday afternoon, the board of directors set strict fines for property owners who hook up to the sewer before their allotted time.
Staff and the public information committee recommended that the board of directors consider adopting changes to the sewer connection ordinance that allows the district to set rules for property owners before hooking up to the district. The new changes require property owners to be properly assessed and go through permitting and inspection before hooking up to the system.
“It is very important that we require property owners to obtain proper permits … to make sure there is no damage to our system,” said communications director Jennifer Poland.
The changes also establish fines for people who connect to the system before their scheduled time or otherwise violate the ordinance. Violators may be issued a $250 fine for the first violation and a $500 fine for each subsequent violation.
In the case of hooking up to the sewer too early, each day they are hooked up would be considered a separate violation, meaning that a person who hooks up to the sewer a week before their scheduled time would incur $3,250 in fines.
Director Bob Stadum told his fellow board members that these harsh fines were necessary because early hook-ups could dramatically hurt the new system by pumping waste into pump stations that are not yet operational.
“You’re gonna mess up the system,” he said.
Connections are scheduled to begin after Nov. 14 for residents in stage one.
Along with their regular board meeting, the HDWD directors also put out a news release this week sharing the final dollar amounts for the sewer assessment charge that property owners have been billed on their 2019-2020 property taxes.
In May 2015, property owners formed an assessment district to finance the cost of construction for phase one of the sewer project. Forming the assessment district secured a low-interest $145 million loan from the state. Each property in all three phases is assessed a portion of the cost of constructing phase one.
The amount charged includes a reduction from the estimated cost thanks to the Measure Z sales tax and additional properties buying into the new sewer system. This year, $1.6 million was collected from sales taxes.
For a single-family home, the estimated charge was $706.50 and the final, actual charge was $492.32. The charge for a multi-family home was reduced from an estimated $538.11 to approximately $365. Mobile home parks were charged $282.14 per mobile home and $214.82 per vacant home. Vacant parcels were charged $379.79 and deferred parcels were charged $224.73.
A financial assistance program is available to assist with these costs. For information, call Zac Frater at (760) 228-6287 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.