County of Marin - News Releases - Novato Flood Control Tax Goes To Ballot

For Immediate Release
August 01, 2017

Novato Flood Control Tax to be on 2017 Ballot

Proposed parcel tax to be put to a vote during November elections

San Rafael, CA – At their August 1 session, the Marin County Board of Supervisors recommended placing a flood control parcel tax for the greater Novato area on the November 7 local election ballot.

A mail delivery truck navigates a flooded roadway in Novato.A mail delivery truck navigates a flooded roadway in Novato.

The measure, which will need a two-thirds vote to pass in November, would generate approximately $19.8 million over 18 years. Those funds would be solely used towards flood infrastructure improvements across Flood Control Zone 1’s 45 square miles, including the City of Novato as well as unincorporated areas in western Novato, Bel Marin Keys, Black Point, Green Point, Bahia, Ignacio, Pacheco Valle and Indian Valley.

The proposed parcel tax would be based on land use and parcel size. A single family home would be $47 per year regardless of acreage. A multi-family parcel would increase with parcel size: $47 for less than a quarter acre, $114 for 0.25 to one acre, $294 for one to 10 acres, and $481 for more than 10 acres. Commercial and industrial parcels range from $67 to $1,254 for a parcel more than 10acres. Seniors that qualify for low income status would be exempt from the proposed tax.

The last time a Flood Control Zone 1 tax was placed on the ballot was in 1984. That measure, when coupled with property taxes, generates about $2 million in funding for flood control maintenance in the Novato watershed. Those funds are used to inspect and maintain five miles of flood protection levees, four stormwater pump stations, annual vegetation and debris maintenance along 15 miles of creeks, and a mile-long project to remove sediment from Novato Creek every four years.

The storms that hit Marin last winter did $1.7 million in damages to Flood Control Zone 1’s pumps and levees. The $2 million in annual funding is not enough to repair that damage and upgrade existing flood protection pumps and levees. The proposed parcel tax would increase funds by approximately $1.1 million annually, allowing flood mitigation measures to be designed and constructed. The Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District (District), which oversees Flood Control Zone 1, expects to leverage the new tax revenue to obtain state and federal grants in the range of $7 million to $10 million, significantly increasing potential improvements for Novato.

The District would use 80 percent of the new revenue to improve and modernize pump stations, rebuild levees and begin adapting them for future sea level rise, improve creek capacity, and restore tidal marsh habitat. The remaining 20 percent would be allotted to the City of Novato to fund priority drainage projects within the city’s jurisdiction. All funds would strictly be used within Flood Control Zone 1 with annual audits being conducted.

For more information, visit the Novato Watershed Program webpage


Tony Williams
Assistant Director
Public Works

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 304
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6432
Email: Tony Williams
Public Works website