By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Keyes' storm drainage system to be improved
Placeholder Image
County officials will be going out to bid next month on an 18-month project now that Keyes residents have approved changes to a storm drainage district.

Raul Mendes, an official with the Stanislaus County Chief Executive Officer's office, said he was surprised at the level of support.

"I was assuming, like many others, that this would not be passing," said Mendes.

Last month property owners in Keyes approved the formation of the County Service Area 26 and the dissolution of the existing County Services Areas 6, 13, and 17. In weighted balloting, the measure passed 208.54 approval votes to 140.89 in opposition. A total of 12 ballots were deemed incomplete.

The creation of CSA 26 brings on an assessment on parcels to provide the necessary funding for the maintenance for a communitywide storm drainage system. It funds maintenance of the filtration unit, the storm drain lines and pumps, and the expansion of the landscaped dual use storm drain retention basins/parks, which comprise the Keyes Storm Drain Infrastructure Project.

Only those living in the three newest Keyes subdivisions - including Bonita Ranch - had previously been assessed to pay for operations and maintenance of the storm drainage system built when the newer subdivisions were built. The vote allows the entire town of Keyes to be assessed as the whole town is hooked up to the Bonita Ranch storm drainage system to reduce flooding during periods of wet weather.

County officials believe it was fair to make all Keyes property owners pay for a system since flooding of all Keyes streets will be minimized by the system.

An engineer's report estimates that $175,082 per year is needed for maintenance of Keyes parks, storm drainage basins, storm drain lines and storm water filtration system. To spread out the costs among the 1,032 parcels in Keyes, each homeowner is being assessed $159.58 per year. The added assessment will appear on owners' property tax bills.

The vote will mean some in Keyes pay less. Those who own lots on Sunray Estates' 281 parcels will see a reduction in their assessment, from $286.46 to $159.58 per year.

Many more owners will pay more, including those who have never been assessed before. The 44 landowners in the Raymond Tract will now pay the full amount versus the old assessment of $22.72 annually.

La Jolla, part of County Service Area #13, will see a jump from $35.70.

The move to form one new assessment district is linked to $17 million in improvements ordered by the county Redevelopment Agency. Curbs, gutters and matching pavement are being installed in the older neighborhoods to channel storm water into the new system.

Work on the Keyes infrastructure project will likely begin in July and run through late 2009 and includes:

• Excavating a new storm water retention basin;

• Making improvements to the existing retention basin at Bonita Ranch to increase its capacity, including a pumping station;

• Constructing a storm drainage collection system;

• Constructing full-width street improvements with curb and gutters in the older Keyes residential, downtown and commercial areas.

"There's going to be a lot of activity out there once we have a contract," said Mendes.

He said community meetings will be scheduled to explain the project and plans for improvements.

"I've attended MAC meetings in Keyes regularly and I can tell you that their priority is the conditions of the streets when it's flooding," said Mendes. "They've been waiting patiently for this project to begin."

Mendes said there are no plans to install sidewalks in areas without them. However, the county may waive the encroachment fees if property owners wish to have them installed by professionals.