CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM
Meeting Date: September 23, 2003
Subject/Title: Approve a Resolution authorizing the Finance Director to
reallocate the $1 per month residential water charge to a $1 per month with
annual Cost Pricing Index (CPI) increase billed to each residential property
owner for sanitary sewer service in the City of Brentwood.
Submitted by: Paul Zolfarelli, Director of Public Works
Approved by: John Stevenson, City Manager
Approve a Resolution increasing City sewer services without increasing
monthly service fees by authorizing the Finance Director to reallocate the
$1 per month 1983 new water supply residential water charge to a $1 per
month with annual Cost Pricing Index (CPI) increase billed to each
residential property owner for sanitary sewer service in the City of
Brentwood for maintenance, repair and/ or replacement of the portion of the
sanitary sewer lateral located between the property line and main line.
The City of Brentwood Municipal Code (Section 13.04) identifies
responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the lateral line,
specifically called “house sewer”, as the property owners. Section
13.04.090(J) states, “Each owner shall keep his house sewer and connections
in good order at his own expense and shall be held responsible for damage to
any of the city’s property comprising any part of the sewer system.” Section
13.04.01 defines “house sewer” as “any part of the sewer piping beginning at
the junction thereof with any building plumbing system at not closer then
two feet outside the foundation wall of the building serviced and
terminating at the main sewer.”
In the past, contrary to the sewer ordinance, Public Works crews have taken
on the maintenance of the section of the sanitary sewer lateral within the
City of Brentwood right-of-way. This maintenance has included inspection,
repair and replacement.
Our crews have performed a variety of service cleanings and repairs on the
lateral line from the property line cleanout to the main line in the street.
While the majority of these service requests and repairs have been in the
older residential areas of the City, newer subdivisions are experiencing
problems with tree roots intruding into lateral lines.
The repair work being performed is a significant un-funded financial
obligation on the Wastewater Enterprise Fund. The average lateral line
repair cost is $1,700. This repair usually consists of repairing on offset
in the lateral line where the lateral meets the main line. The repair
involves removing asphalt, trenching, pipe replacement, back-filling and
pavement patching. More complex lateral replacements can cost as much as
$10,000. The average cost for clearing plugs in a lateral is $150. Lateral
camera video inspection is $90 per hour. Chemical root control costs $110
per lateral. In the first three months of 2002 we incurred $11,245 of
un-funded lateral work.
Since performing this work is in contrast to the Municipal Code Regulations,
staff ceased performing this work and has been informing property owners of
their obligation under the law.
In 1983 the City of Brentwood developed a new water supply project. This
project was for the construction of a 16” water main line from the downtown
area to the East Bay Municipal Utility District’s Mokelumne Aqueduct and for
construction of a filtration/ chlorination treatment plant at the water
source location. Funding for this project in the amount of $1,425,000 was
secured through the Department of Water Resources granted under the Safe
Drinking Water Bond Law of 1976. The project was completed in late 1984. The
loan payment was funded through a monthly charge to all water customers.
Initially set at $8.50 per month per customer, the charge has decreased to
$1 per month. To date, sufficient funds needed to repay this loan have been
generated and no further funding is needed.
Staff believes that the reappropriation and renaming of the $1 per month fee
for the water supply project to the Wastewater Enterprise Fund for a Lateral
Maintenance Program provides exceptional benefit to the residents of
Brentwood. For approximately $12 per year property owners are able to avoid
potentially $3,000 worth of sanitary sewer lateral repair. There is no
initial new service charge to our residents.
Due to the significant costs associated with the maintenance, repair and
potential replacement of lateral lines that lay between the property line
and the main line, staff is proposing a policy that would reduce costs to
the resident and ensure lateral sewer lines are operating properly.
Each residential property owner would pay $1 per month to pay for the
program. While it is anticipated that this will be sufficient to pay for the
initial program, it will be adjusted to reflect CPI increases each fiscal
year. Property owners would still be required to have an approved cleanout
installed at or within close proximity to the property line. The City would
maintain the lateral from that cleanout or property line to the main line.
All maintenance, repair and replacement of the lateral line from the
property line back to the building or dwelling unit would be the
responsibility of the property owner.
Historically, it is the section of sewer line from the property line to the
main line that experiences the most service interruption. This portion of
the right-of-way does not normally contain significant amounts of
landscaping and replacement work consists of pavement and asphalt. This
leaves the landscaped or specifically, the constructed yard portion, as the
property owner’s responsibility.
While the Public Works Department has not been providing service to lateral
lines in the public right-of-way for several months now, a significant
number of requests for service are still being received. Staff believes that
by implementing this program residents will have a shared benefit in
maintenance, repair and/or replacement of the most expensive portion of
their sewer line, that which is under the sidewalk, curb and gutter and the
street pavement. For a very small monthly fee, property owners will avoid
replacement costs of up to $10,000. The portion of the sanitary sewer
lateral from the property line back to the dwelling unit will still be the
responsibility of the property owner but these repairs historically are much
less costly and involved.
Implementing this program achieves the following:
Provides service to all property owners equally
Ensures adequate funding is generated to pay for the program
Allows for minimal fund reserve to be built
Due to complexities associated with commercial lateral lines including
frontage to the streets, the high cost of maintenance from such operations
as restaurants requiring a significant number of cleanings to remove grease
build up and the limited number of commercial users, it is recommended that
this program only apply to residential customers. There are currently 10,100
residential connections verses 395 commercial connections. If the Council
were to offer this program to the commercial customers it is recommended
that the charge for the commercial accounts be charged approximately four
times the residential charge or $4.96 per month.
Currently there are 10,100 residential sanitary sewer connections. If the
fee for the lateral program is implemented at the $1 per connection per
month, approximately $121,200 would be generated in the first year which
would be applied to the cost of the program.
These funds will be exclusively earmarked for the lateral repair program. It
is anticipated that not all of the funding will be exhausted each year and
that any funds remaining at the end of the fiscal year will be placed in
reserves to ensure sufficient funding of this program as participation
increases due to aging infrastructure. A projection of growth, revenue and
expenditure for the first seven years of this program are as follows:
$1 $1.025 $1.05 $1.07 $1.10 $1.18 $1.26
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7
Connections 10,100 10,807 11,563 12,372 13,239 14,165 15,157
$1/mo. Revenue 121,200 132,926 145,693 158,856 174,754 200,576 229,173
Anticipated Annual Program Expense $111,200 $122,926 $135,693 $148,856
$164,754 $190,576 $219,173
Reserves $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000
Total to Reserve $10,000 $20,000 $30,000 $40,000 $50,000 $60,000 $70,000
While it is difficult to predict how many homeowners will utilize the
services in this program each year, staff is anticipating allocating $10,000
per year to reserves up to a total reserve of $100,000. Staff further
anticipates that sufficient funds will be available each year for lateral
root foaming and equipment renewal and replacement. If program costs were to
exceed annual revenues staff would examine fund alternatives including
additional monthly charges.
If City Council chose to extend this program to the 395 commercial users
currently receiving sanitary sewer service an estimate charge of $4.96 per
month to each commercial facility would be needed to generate sufficient
funds to pay for the program.
• City of Brentwood Municipal Code (Section 13.04.090)
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD AUTHORIZING THE
FINANCE DIRECTOR TO REALLOCATE THE $1 PER MONTH RESIDENTIAL WATER CHARGE TO
A $1 PER MONTH WITH ANNUAL COST PRICING INDEX (CPI) INCREASE BILLED TO EACH
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY OWNER FOR SANITARY SEWER SERVICE IN THE CITY OF
WHEREAS, responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the residential
property sewer lateral line currently lies with the resident per Municipal
Code Section 13.04.090; and
WHEREAS, the City will discontinue the $1 per month residential water charge
as of October 1, 2003; and
WHEREAS, the $1 per month residential water charge can be reallocated to a
$1 per month with annual CPI increase, billed to each residential property
owner for sanitary sewer service commencing on October 1, 2003; and
WHEREAS, the $1 per month sanitary sewer service fee could assist property
owners in avoiding expensive sewer later replacement costs of up to $10,000;
WHEREAS, approximately $121,200 would be generated in the first year and
applied toward the cost of the Sewer Lateral Program.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Brentwood
authorizes the Financial Director to reallocate the $1 per month residential
water charge to a $1 per month with annual CPI increase billed to each
residential property owner for sanitary sewer service in the City of
PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED by the City Council of the City of Brentwood at
a regular meeting held on the 23rd day of September, 2003 by the following