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The majority of agencies in San Mateo County collect sewer service charges on the tax roll.
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Billing through the County tax roll is anticipated to provide benefits to both ratepayers and the sewer enterprise fund. As the collector of general taxes, the County of San Mateo guarantees payment for any charges collected on the tax roll. This guarantee of payment allows staff to project revenue with more accuracy and plan any future expenditures required to maintain the City’s sewer collection system, including any long-term debt obligations. Having a consistent, guaranteed revenue stream also has the potential to increase the City’s bond rating, which would lead to the City receiving lower interest rates when financing capital improvement projects or contractual obligations for wastewater operations. Lower interest rates result in lower overall costs that will ultimately be factored into future rate studies. Any beneficial cost savings for the sewer enterprise would positively impact ratepayers in the areas of sewer rate setting, system capital improvements, and service delivery.
The collection of sewer service charges for all parcels became effective in fiscal year 2023-24. On July 11, 2023, the City Council voted on the proposed resolution to incorporate the charges onto the tax-roll. For water/sewer service customers, any bills received from the City after August 1, 2023, will have sewer charges prorated to reflect the transition to County billing.
Customers do not have the ability to opt-out of the transition. City staff did consider an opt-out option, but it was determined not to be an efficient approach to administering the program as added administrative costs would negate the benefits the City is aiming to achieve for ratepayers.
Charges collected through the tax roll are the responsibility of the parcel owner.
Tenants of parcels that will have charges collected through the tax roll will not see a sewer service charge on their City of Millbrae utility bill after the transition takes place. Those customers who receive a utility bill in August will have a prorated portion of their sewer bill reflecting the June sewer service charge. All sewer service charges after July 1, 2023, will be transitioned to the tax-roll.
You may contact the Finance Department at (650) 259-2350, and staff will be able to assist you.
Sewer service charges collected through the tax roll will appear on the parcel owner’s tax bill the same way they do for property taxes. Charges are paid in the same manner and at the same time as property taxes. This means property owners will be responsible for paying charges by the due dates listed on their property tax bill.
Sewer service charges collected through the tax roll will be subject to any deadlines or penalties set by the San Mateo County Tax Collector’s Office.
The infographic below outlines the County’s payment and penalty processes for bills issued through the tax roll.
Visit the San Mateo County Property Tax Website.
No. Current rates will not increase as a result of collecting charges through the tax roll. The City will continue to follow the same public notification process for adopting rates.
Sewer service charges are not tax deductible.
Yes, the City will continue to bill customers for water services.
Sewer service charges collected through the tax roll will not change a parcel owner's property related taxes. The parcel owner will see an increase in the overall tax bill received, as it includes other fixed charges that are not tied to the property's value.
Yes, City of Millbrae water/sewer customers can still apply for Lifeline if sewer service charges are billed through the County tax roll. Applicants can contact the Finance Department at (650) 259-2350 or Email Finance for information regarding the Lifeline program.
Yes, eligible customers may still receive a sewer charge reduction through Lifeline provided that they submit the required materials to the Finance Department.
The reduced sewer service charge will be applied to the tax roll. The water portion of the Lifeline program will not change, and participants will continue to receive a reduced water service charge on their bi-monthly utility statement.
No, there will be no change in rates or calculations of charges after the sewer charges move to the tax-roll. Sewer charges will continue to be based on winter consumption for residential. The only change is that while formerly being billed bi-monthly, the sewer charges are assessed bi-annually via the county tax-roll.
All questions may be directed through email or by calling the Finance Department at (650) 259-2350.