When and why did the Benefit Assessment Program begin?
Flood control assessments were once levied on an ad valorem basis, that is, on the value of the property being protected. Assembly Bill 549, which was enacted by the state legislature following the passage of Proposition 13 (1978), calls for flood control assessments to be levied on a benefit basis rather than an ad valorem basis as had been used in the past.
In 1979, after public hearings, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors adopted the Alameda County Flood Control Benefit Assessment Program. The program was developed because Alameda County Flood Control revenues after Proposition 13 were not adequate to keep the flood protection system—dams, channels, pumping plants, levees, storm drains, etc.—upon which the lives and property of District residents depend, in safe and effective condition.
In June 1980, the board put the issue of continuing the assessment program on the ballot. The Benefit Assessment Program was approved by all Alameda County residents, except those in the cities of Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Piedmont, and San Leandro. San Leandro residents approved the program in June 1984.
How are benefits assessed?
The assessments are based on land use and parcel area, which directly relate to stormwater runoff. Land use information is provided by the County Assessor’s Office.
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors established five categories of land use for properties in the District:
- Group A – Commercial and Industrial Properties
- Group B – Institutions and Apartments; Mobile Home Parks and Condos (Five or More Units)
- Group C – Single Family Residential and Small Multiple Residential Properties (One to Four Living Units)
- Group D – Vacant Land Used for Farming, Vineyards, Irrigated Crops
- Group E – Vacant Land, Undisturbed, Not Titled or Planted or Irrigated May Be Used for Grazing
Benefit assessments are also tied to District zones. Zones are based on major watershed areas. Each zone is treated as a separate financial entity for the purpose of maintaining and constructing facilities, and for the levying of assessments based on needs within that zone’s watershed area.
How are assessments levied?
Annually, the Board of Supervisors receives a report describing the proposed District programs and assessments. It holds noticed public hearings and, after public input, sets the amounts of the assessments for each property within each Flood Control District zone for the next fiscal year.
Assessments are then levied. They are collected at the same time and in the same manner as Alameda County property taxes. They are listed as separate items on the tax bill. They are subject to the same fines, penalties, and forfeitures as property taxes.
I’m a senior citizen and can’t afford these taxes.
There are no exemptions for senior citizens in the Flood Control Benefit Assessment Program. However, the county has information on tax payment options for senior citizens. Phone (510) 272-6587 for additional help.
I get two property tax bills, but I only have one property (split parcel).
Sometimes a parcel is split by a tax code area boundary, a city boundary, or some arbitrary parcel split. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-670-5480, and we will investigate the situation.
Does the benefit assessment (Flood Benefit # on your tax bill) mean my property is in a flood hazard area or part of a flood insurance program?
The “Flood Benefit #” does not mean that the property is in a flood hazard zone. It is an assessment for the Alameda County Flood Control & Water Conservation District. The number following “Flood Benefit” indicates the zone in which you live. If you wish to know if your parcel is in a flood hazard area, contact us at 510-670-5480.
When are tax payments due?
Contact the Assessor’s Office: www.acgov.org/assessor, (510) 272-3787. This office can also answer questions regarding your property value or land use.
Flooding from the creek/clogged storm drain caused damage to my property. Whom do I talk to?
All claims are processed through the Clerk of the Board, 1221 Oak Street, Suite 536, Oakland, CA 94612. Phone: 510-208-4949.
If the request relates to tax exemptions, land use, or property value, refer the caller to the Assessor’s Office at 510-272-3787.