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San Bruno's Stormwater System

June 24, 2021 - 

San Bruno property owners opted not to adopt a proposed Storm Drainage and Flood Protection fee. The proposed fee aimed to provide additional funds to address health and safety upgrades to San Bruno’s aging Stormwater System and fund operating expenses for the system. With much of the City’s Stormwater System dating back to the early 1900s, a recent infrastructure study showed the System is inadequate and cannot be effectively managed by the fees currently paid by property owners, which has not increased in nearly 30 years. Upgrading and properly maintaining the System ensures efficient drainage, prevents property damage from flooding and sinkholes, and minimizes pollution into the San Bruno Channel, the San Francisco Bay, and local water supplies. The proposed fee was intended to provide a fair, equitable and uniquely calculated fee so that each individual fee assessment would be based on the impact each property has on the City’s Stormwater System.

Over 12,000 ballots were mailed to all San Bruno property owners, with 5,143 ballots returned. A total of 3,310 property owners selected not to support the updated Storm Drainage and Flood Protection fee, resulting in a 64.4% no vote.

If the proposed fee structure had been approved, it would have provided funding to upgrade and maintain San Bruno’s local Stormwater System to further reduce the risk of flooding to homes and businesses, maintain unobstructed emergency response, and prevent system failures, soil erosion and sinkholes while protecting local waterways from pollution.

“San Bruno's Stormwater System is subject to flooding during heavy rainfall events that can cause flooding and property damage. Unfortunately, for the foreseeable future, this reality will continue,” commented City Manager Jovan D. Grogan. The San Bruno City Council has expressed a commitment to debrief recent efforts to educate property owners on the risks posed by a failing Stormwater System and discern if amendments to the proposed fee would have had a different result.

“The City is committed to identifying a solution. While the proposed fee failed, failure is not an option. We’ve studied San Bruno’s Stormwater System, we’ve identified the needed health and safety repairs, and we’ll redouble our efforts to secure the funds to make the improvements,” said City Manager Grogan.

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