Board Approves 218 Election, Public Hearing May 9

At the January 10, 2018 Board meeting, the Directors of the North Fork Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency approved the Engineer’s Report to conduct a Proposition 218 Election and set a date of May 9 at 5:30 pm for the  public hearing. The Board is requesting landowner approval to levy assessments to fund the activities required to comply with California’s new groundwater law.  The necessary funding for the Agency will be reviewed annually by the Board and, depending on the funds projected to be needed for the year, may be approved up to the maximum $10.00 per acre assessment rate.

The proposed fee must be supported by landowners within the North Fork Kings GSA territory. If not, compliance with the new law will still happen but at a higher cost. The State will impose a fee structure on groundwater pumpers many times more costly than what is proposed by North Fork Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency. You can find the State’s 2018 adopted SGMA fees here.

To view the Engineer’s Report and learn more about the assessment and upcoming outreach events go to www.northforkkings.org/218election.

Board Meeting Date and Location Have Changed

Due to the increased activity and interest related to developing a Groundwater Sustainability Plan, the Board has changed the frequency and location of the Board meetings. The Board will be meeting bimonthly on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 5:30 pm. The location has changed to the Riverdale Community Education Center Board Room, 3160 W. Mt. Whitney Ave., Riverdale, Ca 93656.

The meeting dates for 2018 are February 28, April 25, June 27, August 22, October 24, and December 26.

Board Moves Forward with 218 Election Process

At their December 20 meeting, the North Fork Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) board approved the recommendation by their technical consultants, Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group, to consider a 5-year budget and an average cost per acre of $10 as factors for completing an Engineer’s Report, which is the first requirement for setting in motion the process for an assessment election. The election allows landowners within the North Fork Kings territory to vote on an assessment to fund the North Fork Kings GSA activities. The total assessable acreage in the North Fork Kings is approximately 164,000 acres.

At the Board’s October meeting, it was decided a 218 majority-approval election process would be used. This means more than 50 percent of the weighted ballots must vote in the affirmative. The election is land based and the costs for GSA startup and administration and preparation of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan as well as initial implementation will be shared equally by all acreage within the North Fork Kings GSA. It is anticipated that the assessment rate will be set by the Board at their January 10 Board meeting. The maximum that can be set is $10 per acre, but the Board could decide on a lower rate.

Some of the costs in the proposed 5-year budget include GSA administration (staffing, insurance, outreach, office expenses), professional services (engineering, legal, grant writing, 218 election), member agency reimbursement, an enterprise fund for project development and groundwater monitoring, and a 10 percent contingency fund.

If the North Fork Kings GSA is unable to fund its activities and comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the law allows the State to intervene. Intervention means a State version of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan that may be limited to only demand-side solutions, like restrictions on groundwater pumping. It also means the State will impose its very severe SGMA fee structure on groundwater pumpers that is considerably higher than the anticipated rate for the North Fork Kings GSA. You can find the State’s 2018 adopted SGMA fees here.

Below is the proposed schedule for the 218 election process.
Time Frame
Task
Jan. 10, 2018 Board Meeting – approve Engineer’s Report and set assessment rate
Jan/Feb 2018 Conduct public outreach and education
March 2018 Prepare and mail ballots
May 2018 Tabulate received ballots and certify election

Board Approves Funding Strategy For GSP Development & Implementation

Board Approves Funding Strategy For GSP Development & Implementation
At the October Board meeting, the Board approved the recommendation by their technical consultants, Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group, to follow the Proposition 218 process to fund through assessments administrative activities and the development of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan. Corresponding with this recommendation, the Board approved Task Order 3 providing Provost & Pritchard with a budget not to exceed $30,000 to prepare the required engineering report and conduct a 218 election. The engineering report will describe the proposed assessment and determination of benefits that are associated with the assessment.
The Board also approved Task Order 4 providing Provost & Pritchard funding for initial data assessment, overdraft evaluation and modeling review along with other tasks related to drafting a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). The Task Order covers work from October 2107 through the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 23018. During this time, Provost & Prtichard will prepare initial sections of the GSP such as agency information, hydrogeologic conceptual model, current groundwater conditions, existing and proposed groundwater monitoring network, and water budget for the North Fork Kings area. The Task Order authorizes $72,000 for hydrogeology and engineering, $80,000 for inter-basin and intra-basin coordination as required by law, and $30,000 for initial GSP development.

Provost & Pritchard Selected as Technical Engineering Consultants

At their September 6 meeting, the Board approved the recommendation by the Ad Hoc Steering Committee to contract with Provost & Pritchard Consultants for technical engineering consulting services. As part of the contract, the Board approved two task orders. Task Order 1 provides Provost & Pritchard with a budget not to exceed $20,000 for general project management tasks through the end of June 30, 2018.  Task Order 2 provides Provost & Pritchard with a budget not to exceed $8,000 to prepare an assessment of funding strategy alternatives for GSP development and implementation and a recommendation to the Board.

In other actions by the Board, a funding mechanism for Fiscal 2018 budget expenditures was adopted. The total budget of $340,795 will divided among the fifteen member agencies based on each member agency’s acreage.

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