Ordinance 24-01 Fixing Rates, Charges and Fees


SCH Number
Public Agency
Soquel Creek Water District
Document Title
Ordinance 24-01 Fixing Rates, Charges and Fees
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
On February 20, 2024, the Board of Directors of the Soquel Creek Water District adopted Ordinance 24-01 Fixing Rates, Charges and Fees (“Ordinance”) authorizing rate adjustments to the water rates of the District. In April 2023, the District initiated a Water Rate Study to develop a finance plan and conduct a thorough review of the District’s water rate structure to provide options for the development of new water rates. The study is based on District-specific data, including water usage and demand patterns and budgetary requirement and constraints. Based on the Water Rate Study, District meetings, and public hearings, the District proposed changes to its water rates. The water rates proposed by the Ordinance are designed to fund the District’s operations over the next four years. District revenue needs are projected to increase 10% in year one, and 12% annually in years two through four. The revenue is needed to fund District operations, invest in capital infrastructure repairs and replacements, adjust for inflationary pressure, ensure repayment of debt, begin operation of the Pure Water Soquel Advanced Water Purification project, and actively restore the overdrafted groundwater basin to prevent seawater intrusion. As noted in the Ordinance, the proposed water rate modifications do not establish rate increases to fund capital projects for the expansion of the District system.

Contact Information

Melanie Mow Schumacher
Agency Name
Soquel Creek Water District
Job Title
Assistant General Manager
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency


Santa Cruz
Other Location Info
The District's regional service area includes the cities of Aptos, La Selva Beach, Opal Cliffs, Rio Del Mar, Seascape, Soquel, and portions of Capitola

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Statutory Exemption
Type, Section or Code
Public Resources Code § 21080(b)(8); State CEQA Guidelines § 15273(a)
Reasons for Exemption
The adoption of the Ordinance is not a project within the meaning of CEQA pursuant to State CEQA Guidelines §15378(b)(4). Section 15378(b)(4) provides, in pertinent part, that a project does not include “the creation of government funding mechanisms or other government fiscal activities which do not involve any commitment to any specific project which may result in a potentially significant physical impact on the environment.” Because the adoption of the Ordinance is based on the creation of a government funding mechanism but does not involve any commitment to a specific project, it is not a project under CEQA. To the extent that the adoption of the Ordinance is considered a “project” under CEQA, it is nevertheless exempt pursuant to Public Resources Code § 21080(b)(8) and State CEQA Guidelines § 15273(a). Sections 21080(b)(8) and 15273(a) provide that activities to establish, modify, structure, restructure, or approve of rates, tolls, fares, or other charges by public agencies for the purpose of meeting operating expenses (among other things) are exempt from CEQA. Given that adoption of the Ordinance establishes new rates and charges for water service expressly for the purpose of assisting the District with continuing to meet operational expenses, it is exempt from CEQA review pursuant to Public Resources Code § 21080(b)(8) and State CEQA Guidelines § 15273(a).
County Clerk
Santa Cruz


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