By SUNNY LOCKWOOD
The Calaveras County Water District Board voted unanimously to renew standby fees during its meeting yesterday.
No one spoke during the public hearing.
Standby fees are paid by people in CCWD improvement districts, who own property, but are not actually hooked up to the water or sewer system. Most of the fees have been in place since before 1997, said CCWD Assistant General Manager and General Counsel Alan Turner.
"This money forms a revenue base to keep (CCWD's) system in operation," Turner told the board.
Water standby assessment fees within the Ebbetts Pass and West Point districts are $10 per parcel per year.
The same fee applies to parcels within Jenny Lind Improvement District, Copper Cove Improvement District (including Copperopolis), Saddle Creek subdivision and Copper Cove/La Contenta Improvement District.
Indian Rock Vineyards subdivision property owners pay $10 per month for lots to which sewer is available.
"The idea is that everyone who has the benefit should contribute something toward maintaining that benefit," Turner told the board.
Director Charles Hebrard asked why people who are not on the system should pay the fees.
Fred Burnett, operations and maintenance supervisor said CCWD's water systems supply fire-flow water to all properties within water improvement districts, so people benefit even if they don't have a house hooked up to CCWD's system.
After the meeting, Turner said having utilities available automatically makes property within the districts more valuable.
Hebrard asked how people can appeal the fee.
"Every year, when we hold these public hearings on the fees, they can speak," Board President Jeff Davidson said.
CCWD Finance Director Rudy Hernandez said the district expects to collect about $140,000 from the standby fees.
The funds will be used for maintenance and operation, debt service and for various reserve funds. The fees are in effect until June 2004, when the directors will be asked to renew them again.