County Service Areas

County Service Areas
October 10, 2008
By Beth Gabor, Yolo County Public Information Officer & Kimberly Bellows, U.C. Davis Intern

For those who reside in one of Yolo County’s cities (Davis, West Sacramento, Winters or Woodland) services such as water, sewage, garbage, street lighting and road maintenance are standard as they are provided by the cities. But for those residing in the unincorporated areas there is not necessarily an automatic, designated entity to supply such services. To fill this need, Yolo County has 14 County Service Areas (CSAs) which serve as mechanisms to assist organized unincorporated regions of the county, special districts and neighborhoods in developing the infrastructure necessary to obtain the services they need.

CSAs are usually created when a group of residents decides they want a particular service(s), i.e. garbage collection. In the case of new developments, developers are typically required to provide services which may include the organization of a CSA. The Board of Supervisors governs CSAs with the county’s CSA Manager providing management and coordination of services. A CSA can provide one service or many to its residents. Generally, the county contracts out services as the county, for the most part, is not a utility provider. The county, however, manages and coordinates all services provided to CSAs, which includes responding to questions or problems that may arise. Most CSAs also have an advisory committee that keeps the Board of Supervisors informed on their issues and concerns.

So how do residents in CSAs receive services? Some actually have them contracted through a neighboring city’s infrastructure. For example, North Davis Meadows, just northwest of Davis, has its own wastewater system that is tied into the Davis city system. However, not all CSAs are close to existing systems and must provide their own infrastructure of services. Cases like this are the Clarksburg Lighting District (south of West Sacramento), which contracts directly with PG&E for street lighting, or the Rolling Acres Permanent Road Maintenance District (southeast of Davis) which has established a fund for road maintenance usually performed by the county’s Planning & Public Works Department. The Wildwings development (west of Woodland) is a unique case, as it has the county’s first stand-alone water and sewer plant and the only county-run, self-sustaining wastewater treatment plant.

These are just a few examples of the variety of CSAs; each unique, providing specific services under a specific fee structure. Residents of CSAs set their own fees under Proposition 218 (an initiative designed to give taxpayers the right to approve or reject local governments’ tax increases and special assessments on property) and then pays those fees annually in their property taxes. Such fees are budgeted specifically for each CSA and include maintenance and operations, legal counsel and professional staffing.

Yolo County’s CSA Manager, Regina Espinoza, attests to the complexity of these service areas: “It’s like the county is managing and operating 14 mini cities, even though some CSAs only provide one service. Coordinating the resources and the personnel for all these ‘cities’ is a large task – and a satisfying one. Knowing that residents are receiving services they need, that they might not otherwise get, is rewarding.”

For more information, log on to http://www.yolocounty.org/Index.aspx?page=403 or contact Regina Espinoza, Yolo County Planning & Public Works Department CSA Manager (530) 666-8725.