|A MORE VIABLE AND PROMISING FUTURE IS BEGINNING TO UNFOLD FOR BIMID
It’s been said that “the past is another country; they do things differently there, “and “we are too often nostalgic for times that never really were.” Just two good reasons to look to the future, which for BIMID and Bethel Island is looking increasingly more promising over the next several years.
Its February 18, 2016 Board meeting was pivotal for the Bethel Island Municipal Improvement District. It was at that meeting that the following two historically significant events (what many would these days refer to as “game changers”) converged:
Each on its own terms, but all the more so the two in combination, will dramatically shift BIMID’s future long term financial prospects as 2016 begins a transformative time for BIMID to become, and to accomplish, so much more than we’ve ever been able to before. So from this point forward, BIMID has the unprecedented opportunity to become more of a “going concern,” in stark contrast to the struggling, erratically funded organization it has tended to be during most of its history.
BIMID LETTER OF SUPPORT FOR SB 554, TO EXTEND DELTA LEVEES MAINTENANCE SUBVENTIONS PROGRAM’S 75% REIMBURSEMENT PERCENTAGE PERMANENTLY
The following letter was recently approved by the BIMID Board in support of SB 554 (Wolk). Already unanimously approved by the State Senate, it has now made its way to the Assembly. BIMID is closely tracking the bill as it begins to wend its way through the Assembly’s Committee structure on its way to full Floor consideration. The letter below is being personalized and sent to each Committee Member (starting with the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee), as well as to Assembly Member Frazier, and other key Assembly Members.
As background, the Delta Levees Maintenance Subventions Program provides State funding to local agencies for the rehabilitation and maintenance of levees in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. In 1996, the State Legislature “temporarily” set the reimbursement rate at 75% of eligible local levee expenditures in excess of $1,000 per levee mile based on each local agency’s ability to pay. This rate was supposed to “sunset” and be reduced to 50% in 2006, but has since been extended several times, with the current rapidly approaching sunset date being July 1, 2018. Such extensions have been made in recognition that, in addition to multiple other benefits, such levee improvements are important for the protection of the State’s drinking water supply and other related infrastructure.
SB 554 is intended to make the present 75% maximum reimbursement amount (or State Cost Share) permanent. It would also delete related legislative intent language in current law for a $2 million annual limit (which, although representing an annual level BIMID may itself never reach, nonetheless removes what could prove to be an artificial barrier to much needed levee improvements throughout the Delta).
It should also be noted that as this legislation moves forward, the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) continues pursuing its complex charge under State law to develop a prioritized Delta Levee Investment Strategy, including critically evaluating both this DWR administered Subventions Program and DWR’s Special Projects Program. BIMID relies heavily on this existing framework, which our recently approved Assessment District Program will enable Bethel Island to more easily access and benefit from in the years ahead. So in addition to supporting SB 554, BIMID continues attending DSC meetings, and staying on top of any such issues they are addressing that could have a significant impact on BIMID and Bethel Island. BIMID has also frequently gone on record both in oral testimony at DSC meetings, and several times in formal written form to make sure that BIMID’s and Bethel Island’s case, status and circumstances are fully understood by DSC members.
Bethel Island Municipal Improvement District
This letter is submitted in unanimous support of SB 554 (Wolk) by the Board of Directors of the Bethel Island Municipal Improvement District (BIMID). Bethel Island is the most populous of all Delta Islands, one of the eight western “sentinel islands,” and an historical “legacy community.” BIMID was formed in 1960 by a special act of the State Legislature replacing and upgrading Bethel Island Reclamation District No. 1619. BIMID has since that time continued focusing on the protection of life and property on Bethel Island – and its economy and way of life – from potential levee breaches and flooding from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers that converge to our immediate north on their way to San Francisco Bay.
BIMID’s facilities include 11.5 miles of levee, 19.5 miles of internal drainage canals and ditches, and 2 pumping stations, which BIMID staff has made every effort over the years and decades to maintain (and, when feasible, upgrade) as consistently and effectively as possible. We have done so despite the year to year inconsistency and volatility of our primary local revenue source, ad valorem Property Taxes.
Were it not for the current Delta Levee Maintenance Reimbursement (or Subventions) Program as constituted since 1996, providing up to 75% reimbursement for eligible levee maintenance expenditures incurred in excess of $1,000 per levee mile, this would have been much more difficult, if not impossible, for BIMID – or many other similar Delta Districts – to have achieved. Even during the recent severe, prolonged recession, the Subventions Program remained the cornerstone of BIMID’s ongoing levee maintenance program.
The 2015 voter approval of BIMID’s proposed Proposition 218 Assessment District will provide an enhanced, more stable financial structure for BIMID going forward, which will at long last enable BIMID to meet DWR Special Project local share requirements. Yet it will also make the Subventions Program itself all the more effective as still the fundamental, underlying foundation of BIMID’s overall levee improvement program, should it continue to include the current 75% maximum reimbursement provision.
Hence BIMID, and Bethel Island residents and property owners, are increasingly alarmed over the approaching July 1, 2018 sunset of the current Subventions Program, and its reduction of the maximum reimbursement rate to 50%. Hence our substantial relief over, and adamant support for, SB 554 to make the 75% maximum reimbursement rate permanent, and our request that it enjoy your full support as well.
|Due to vacation scheduling, the following will be the BIMID office hours for the following days of April 2016.
April 11 through April 22, 2016 BIMID Office Hours:
On April 26, 2016, the office will return to its regular office hours:
BETHEL ISLAND MUNICIPAL IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT ASSESSMENT DISTRICT
- Ballot Information Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Assessment Revenue Allocation
- Assessment District Final Notes on Community Workshops for Ballot 6-16-2
- Property Tax Revenue and Staffing Decline Chart
- Resolution 15-06-11A
- Engineers Report
ANNUAL COMPENSATION REPORT
To view the Bethel Island Municipal Improvement District’s annual compensation reports, please visit the the California State Controller’s compensation database at www.publicpay.ca.gov
BIMID Gears Up For Proposed Benefit Assessment
Click Here to read the entire article.
The Bethel Island Municipal Improvement District, through the elected Board of Directors and Staff, will serve the people of Bethel Island by responding to the needs and concerns of the public by allocating the available resources to maintain a safe and secure levee system, by maintaining a free flowing drainage system and by creating and maintaining a park and recreation facility.
PLEASE KEEP YOUR LEVEE CLEAN AND FREE OF WEEDS
Spread the word, tell your neighbors!!! “Do the deed and remove the weeds!”
The Bethel Island Municipal Improvement District (BIMID) was formed in the early 1960’s by the California State Legislature. The Island is not a city and thus has to rely on a combination of private and county public services. BIMID is a special act district that has powers similar to a city. BIMID currently provides levee maintenance and repairs, habitat mitigation, park services, as well as storm drain maintenance and repair.
- The Bethel Island Municipal Improvement District was created by the California State Legislature in 1960 and absorbed Reclamation District 1619.
- The acreage was described as 3516.54 acres in the unincorporated territory of Contra Costa County.
- It is an island below sea level of 7 to 15 feet surrounded by 11.5 miles of earthen levee that keeps the Taylor, Piper, Dutch and Sandmound Slough waters out.
- Access to Bethel Island is by boat or the new bridge on the south side that connects Bethel Island Road to Cypress Road to Highway 4 in Oakley.
- Funding for the District is ad valoreum tax collected by the County that is used to compete for State funding from the Dept. of Water Resources.
- Work is handled by one full time equipment operator and two (2) secretaries, one full time and one part time, plus the 5 elected directors.
- The main function is to improve and maintain the levee system and then to keep the drainage system adequate to remove seepage and rain water.