Appeal-Democrat Staff Report
The Yuba Water Agency is committing close to $14 million in grants and loans for water infrastructure upgrades, levee maintenance and Yuba County’s annual CalPERS payment.
– The largest commitment – a nearly $10.9 million loan – will be used by the county to make its annual unfunded liability payment to CalPERS in one lump sum, rather than financing it through the system at a 6.5 percent interest rate. The low-interest loan is expected to save the county approximately $325,000. This is the third year in a row that the agency has provided the loan to the county.
– The agency’s second largest commitment will see the city of Wheatland receive a $1.3 million grant and a $1.3 million low-interest loan to begin design engineering of improvements to its wastewater treatment system and connection to the Olivehurst Public Utility District’s existing wastewater plant. The improvements and connection to OPUD’s facility is expected to protect groundwater quality, improve water supply reliability and expand economic development along the Highway 65 corridor.
“This funding will help us get the project shovel-ready,” said Jim Goodwin, Wheatland city manager, in a press release. “That’s going to be incredibly important to help us qualify for state and federal grants as recovery efforts get underway.”
– The North Yuba Water District will also benefit from a $480,000 grant to improve water supply by piping the district’s Oreleve Ditch, which is a mile-long section of the larger Forbestown Ditch. The Forbestown Ditch is currently unpiped and is prone to breaches. Up to 60 percent of the water in the ditch is lost due to seepage and evaporation, and it experiences contamination issues. The district serves approximately 3,100 customers.
– Lastly, the Marysville Fire Department will receive a $17,500 grant to help with the maintenance and inspections of levees and to reduce fire risk, which is part of the department’s vegetation management program. The funding will be used to continue the program and hire three additional seasonal positions to help manage vegetation along the levee. Vegetation management is carried out along the levees of the Yuba and Feather rivers and Jack Slough.
The funding committed to the various projects was approved by the Yuba Water Agency’s Board of Directors during a meeting on Tuesday.