The McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA) is located in Frenso County and covers approximately 115,000 acres. Participating agencies consist of the Raisin City Water District, the Mid-Valley Water District and Fresno County (representing unincorporated areas). June 6, 2018 the Board approved a $19/acre parcel fee recommended by Lechowicz & Tseng Municipal Consultants.
Ms. Lechowicz served as MAGSA’s groundwater fee consultant and assisted the agency through each step of the process. L&T’s initial deliverable was the creation of a comprehensive 5-year budget. MAGSA intended to recover the costs of GSA formation and GSP development through a new groundwater fee but had not fully “fleshed out” its expenses. Ms. Lechowicz proposed new cost categories for Board administration, customer outreach, and legal expenses based on her experience working with other agencies.
The budget served as the cost of service for the fee calculation. L&T worked with MAGSA’s legal counsel to review fee recovery mechanisms including Proposition 26 fees, Proposition 218 rates, taxes, and special assessments. Ultimately, counsel determined that Proposition 218 rates were appropriate for MAGSA. Ms. Lechowicz also reviewed rate structure options including parcel fees, volume-based pumping rates, and rates charged per well in the GSA’s service area. Given the GSA’s administrative capabilities and limited data availability, the project team recommended a parcel charge.
L&T’s scope of work also included procedural support for adoption and implementation of the fee. Ms. Lechowicz drafted the Proposition 218 public notice and had it translated into Spanish. She also coordinated the printing and mailing of the notice to about 1,300 parcels.