LVMWD Board Provides Further Relief to Residents Impacted by the Woolsey Fire
Board of Directors voted to soften the burden of rebuilding homes destroyed by the disastrous Woolsey Fire.
June 12, 2019
Calabasas, CA – On November 12, 2018, during the initial response to the Woolsey Fire, the LVMWD Board of Directors declared a state of emergency to immediately authorize assistance to first responders and the cities within the service area, with various actions for the continued support of the response and then the recovery phases of the disaster. Among the authorized actions was for the General Manager to develop policies, in coordination with local cities and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, to expedite processes and minimize costs to those customers who need to rebuild their homes.
Of the 397 homes destroyed within the LVMWD service area, an estimated 216 may require upsizing their existing ¾-inch water meter to a 1-inch meter to comply with new California Plumbing Code requirements that mandate indoor fire sprinklers on new-builds. This would result in an unexpected cost of $11,714 for the various connection fees, which would cause an additional financial and emotional strain to those who have lost everything.
LVMWD staff has already been working with the County of Los Angeles and local cities to streamline various recovery activities to support the rebuilding process. For example, staff proactively prepared fire flow certifications for all homeowners impacted by the Woolsey Fire. These certifications have been transmitted to the County and cities, so the documentation is available to customers immediately upon their first visit to the agencies' public counters to start the rebuilding process. Normally, customers need to make a separate trip to LVMWD offices to request the fire flow certification.
"Our job is to provide affordable, safe and reliable water to our entire service area, while being supportive and empathetic to those customers who lost their homes," said Jay Lewitt, LVMWD Board President. "Our community is family and when some are going through a hard time, we will always do what we can to help them and minimize their burden."
At its June 11, 2019 meeting, the LVMWD Board approved a resolution to reduce and minimize the financial hardship to affected customers by waiving the differential cost in capacity fees between a ¾-inch meter and 1-inch meter if certain criteria are met and an application for a meter is made by December 31, 2021. The new cost to qualifying customers would be $3,116, which is the cost of only the meter itself and its installation.
The approach makes sense under these unique circumstances. The District normally collects capacity fees to make storage and pumping improvements to the water system to accommodate increased demand from new development. In this case, there will be minimal additional demand, and it would not trigger the need for such improvements.