‘Yes’ on water quality, flood protection fee

Property owners in Alameda will soon be receiving a ballot in the mail asking them to weigh in on the Water Quality and Flood Protection Fee. Alameda is an island vulnerable to sea-level rise. I attended all the public meetings leading up to the City Council adoption of the Climate Action and Resiliency Plan and learned that our stormwater system is a critical piece of the infrastructure that will help make our island more resilient to the impacts of sea-level rise.

The stormwater system protects the city from flooding. The city’s stormwater account is depleted and significant upgrades are required for its pumping stations, outfalls and trash capture devices. The annual cost of upgrading and maintaining the stormwater system is estimated at $5.45 million with current revenues at just $2.56 million. 

The city’s current $56 fee has not been increased for 15 years. The new stormwater fee will cost the average homeowner an additional $78 (depending on the size of the parcel). The total fee would be $134 ($56 plus $78) for an average single family home.  Commercial fees are based on the amount of impermeable surfaces on the parcel.

Anticipating greater storms in the future, the upgraded storm water system will: protect our streets from flooding, reducing interruption of traffic; filter pollutants and trash from storm run-off, saving our beaches and Bay water quality and reduces impacts of storm surge, high tide and rising sea level upon low-lying land and homes.

The Water Quality and Flood Protection Fee ballot was mailed to property owners on Oct. 10. Please return the ballot by Nov. 25 and vote “yes!”


Ruth Abbe