The Marin Municipal Water District proposes all customers regardless of water use pay a property tax that for residential users would be $163.50 or $408 per year, plus annual inflation. Apart from the questionable legality of imposing the charge as a property tax, it is greatly unfair to those who have conserved water, at MMWD’s request, and for all those whose water use otherwise is well below the average for their meter size.
I have recommended to MMWD a simpler and fairer approach. To raise the $16.5 million in its first year, against the 10 million CCF (hundred cubic feet) its customers use, MMWD could simply add an average of $1.65/CCF to each customer’s bill as a specific item.
MMWD’s proposal assigns more costs to residential users than to others. Even using MMWD’s skewed cost assignments, the charge for residential users would rise to about $2.15/CCF, and larger meter-size customers would be charged less than the $1.65/CCF.
My uniform charge per CCF approach eliminates the unfairness of MMWD’s proposal and avoids potential legal pitfalls of its property tax scheme. Plus it is transparent — customers would see the fee as a separate item on bi-monthly bills, not buried in a lengthy property tax bill.
MMWD should review and trim its operating expenses. Its board should cease taking unique customer-paid health care insurance benefits of over $20,000 per year each, tax-free, to show solidarity with what it is asking from its customers.