Current law allows for benefit assessments to be levied to fund the cost of providing services and improvements as well as maintenance and operation expenses to a public improvement which provides special benefits to the assessed property. Since Reclamation District No. 3 provides flood control and drainage services, it has assembled its assessment roll to levy assessment for these operations based on the benefit received by each property.
Under both types of benefit provided by RD 3, flood control and drainage, benefit is based on elevation of the property. Although it may appear to the naked eye that Grand Island is flat, there is a drop around 25-feet from the highest property to the lowest.
It is obvious that elevation plays a big role under flood control benefit. Some properties would be under water during normal tidal fluctuation, so these properties benefit from the District levee system continuously.
Elevation is also a determining factor of benefit from the District’s drainage system. If it were not for the drainage system, the lower properties would get flooded out from drainage flowing downhill from the upper properties. Also, the lower properties must be constantly dewatered due to seepage caused by the normal water levels in the channel being significantly higher that the property itself.
In order to estimate the benefit that each property gets from the flood control and drainage services provided by RD 3, the District conducted extensive engineering surveys and calculations in the early part of the 20th century (1913-1915). These analyses resulted in various assessment rates based on elevation of each property.
Since 1915, there have been a lot of land subdivision, and lot line adjustments. As a result, some current properties may have a number of assessment rates that trace back to the original surveys and benefit calculations. In order to update these assessment rates, it would require a considerable amount of funding that would use a significant amount of funds from the District finances, yet not appreciably change the rate each property is assessed. Also, any funds used to perform new surveys and an assessment report would reduce the amount of flood control or drainage work that could be performed.