Why am I receiving a standby charge on my tax bill?

Standby Assessments are levied annually on all non-exempt parcels within our water district, whether or not there is water service to the parcel.  Non-exempt parcels are government or other tax-exempt lands.  The standby assessment is authorized by the Uniform Standby Charge Procedures Act and JBWD has not changed the rate or methodology of the charges since 1996.

The charge is on the tax bill because standby charges are collected by the County of San Bernardino, along with the property taxes.  A public hearing including opportunity for public comment is held annually at JBWD in order to consider the standby charges.  The public hearing is typically held in June and is a requirement in order to formally adopt the charges before they can be sent to the County of San Bernardino.

How is my standby charge calculated?

Standby charges are calculated by the District based upon the following three factors:

  1. County Zoning– The land use designation given to the property by the County of San Bernardino. JBWD is not involved in the determination of the County zoning; this information is received from the County.
  2. Acreage – The size of the parcel, in acres. This information is received from the County.
  3. District Zoning – Determined by the District, corresponds to the proximity of the parcel to existing pipelines. Those parcels furthest from the pipelines pay the most as those who are already connected to the water system also pay for system maintenance through monthly water-user fees.  This is JBWD-determined information and can change over time, such as when a meter is installed or a parcel is split.

The District has developed a rate matrix, which provides a per-acre charge (or minimum charge for smaller parcels) based upon the County and District zones.

Standby charges are NOT based on property value or the ability to economically develop the property.

Standby charges are calculated in-house by JBWD and then sent to the County of San Bernardino for collection along with the property taxes.  The County then sends payments received back to the District.

What are standby revenues used for?

JBWD may use the standby charges collected for any legal purpose.  Because of the benefit that a long-term, supplemental water supply will provide for all property owners in the District, the Board of Directors has dedicated the standby revenues first for payment of the Morongo Basin Pipeline.  This pipeline, built, operated and maintained by Mojave Water Agency, will bring State Water Project water from Northern California to the Morongo Basin.  Currently, all water delivered to JBWD customers is groundwater, pumped from two underground aquifers in Joshua Tree.  While the groundwater supply is currently considered plentiful, it is still a finite supply.  JBWD is responsible to ensure a water supply into the future for current customers as well as property owners who connect later.  The supplemental water provided by the Morongo Basin Pipeline is an alternative source of water; water that is vital to ensure that the future water needs of Joshua Tree are met.  As a result of the 1992 election, the District has a contractual obligation to pay for a portion of the maintenance of the Morongo Basin Pipeline.  In addition to paying for the Morongo Basin Pipeline, JBWD uses the standby charges for payment of certain operations and maintenance costs.  The maintenance of the existing water system, including mainlines, storage reservoirs, wells and pumping stations, is a benefit for both current and future customers.

When will the standby charges on my parcel end?

There is no “end” to the standby charges; the charges are NOT for payment of a bond, which will eventually be paid off.

Proposition 218, the right to vote on taxes act, protects taxpayers by limiting the methods by which local governments can create or increase taxes, fees and charges without taxpayer consent.  Proposition 218, adopted in 1996, requires voter approval prior to imposition or increase of general taxes, assessments, and certain user fees.  Our standbys pre-date Proposition 218, so we can continue to charge, but cannot increase standbys without an affirmative vote, which we do not anticipate.  Neither the rates nor the methodology of the standby charges has changed since 1996.

What if I don’t pay my standby charges?

Unpaid property taxes (including standbys) may eventually result in the County placing the parcel on the tax sale list.  Those parcels are then auctioned off, if a bid, sufficient to meet the County minimum bid, is received.  A pro-rata share of the sales price is then sent to JBWD; not necessarily the amount that we billed.

Standby charges (paid or unpaid) have no effect upon water service to the parcel.

COUNTY ZONE District Zone 1 District Zone 2 District Zone 3 District Zone 4 District Zone 1 District Zone 2 District Zone 3 District Zone 4 ACREAGE
20MRM40M $30.00 $50.00 $20.00 $30.00 0+Acres
3MRM $40.00 $60.00 $20.00 $30.00 0-40 Acres
$25.00 41+ Acres
4MRM $40.00 $60.00 $50.00 $20.00 $35.00 $25.00 0-40 Acres
$25.00 $15.00 41+ Acres
RS8M $30.00 $50.00 $20.00 $30.00 0+ Acres
RS10M $30.00 $50.00 $20.00 $35.00 0-40 Acres
$15.00 $25.00 41-80 Acres
$10.00 $15.00 81-160 Acres
$10.00 161-320 Acres
$1.00 321+ Acres
RS18M $30.00 $50.00 $20.00 $30.00 0-40 Acres
$25.00 41+ Acres
RS20M $30.00 $50.00 $20.00 $30.00 0+ Acres
RC40 $40.00 $60.00 $40.00 $40.00 $15.00 $25.00 $15.00 $15.00 0-40 Acres
$12.00 $10.00 $8.00 41-160 Acres
$5.00 $4.00 $3.00 161-320 Acres
$1.00 $1.00 $1.00 321+ Acres
RL20 $30.00 $50.00 $40.00 $40.00 $20.00 $30.00 $20.00 $15.00 0+ Acres
RL10 $30.00 $50.00 $40.00 $40.00 $20.00 $30.00 $20.00 $15.00 0-40 Acres
$15.00 41+ Acres
RL5 $30.00 $50.00 $40.00 $40.00 $20.00 $30.00 $20.00 $15.00 0-40 Acres
$12.00 $25.00 $15.00 $12.00 41-80 Acres
$8.00 $10.00 $8.00 $8.00 81-160 Acres
$4.00 $5.00 $4.00 $3.00 161-320 Acres
$1.00 $1.00 $1.00 $1.00 321+ Acres
RL2.5 $30.00 $50.00 $40.00 $40.00 $20.00 $30.00 $20.00 $15.00 0-40 Acres
$15.00 $25.00 $15.00 $12.00 41-80 Acres
$10.00 $15.00 $10.00 $10.00 81-160 Acres
$5.00 $8.00 $5.00 $4.00 161-320 Acres
$1.00 $1.00 $1.00 $1.00 321+ Acres
COMMERCIAL $40.00 $60.00 $50.00 $25.00 $35.00 $25.00 0-40 Acres
/ INDUSTRIAL/ OTHER $25.00 41+ Acres
RS1 $40.00 $60.00 $50.00 $20.00 $30.00 $20.00 0-40 Acres
$25.00 41+ Acres
Water Availability (Standby) Zoning Descriptions
ZONE 1 Any size parcel served by one or more meters
ZONE 2 Any size parcel within 1/2 mile of a water mainline and in the
same pressure zone as the mainline
ZONE 3 Any size parcel within one mile of a water mainline and
within one pressure zone of the mainline
ZONE 4 All other parcels
3MRM Residential, multi-family, 3,000 sq. ft. per unit, 14.5 units per acre
4MRM Residential, multi-family, 4,000 sq.ft. per unit, 10.8 units per acre
20MRM40M Residential, multi-family, 20,000 sq. ft. per unit, 2.18 units per acre
RS1 Residential, single family, 1 unit per acre
RS8M Residential, single family, 8,000 sq.ft. per unit, 5.4 units per acre
RS10M Residential, single family, 10,000 sq. ft. per unit, 4.3 units per acre
RS18M Residential, single family, 18,000 sq. ft. per unit, 2.4 units per acre
RS20M Residential, single family, 20,000 sq. ft. per unit, 2.1 units per acre
RL2.5 Rural Living, one residence per 2.5 acres
RL5 Rural Living, one residence per 5 acres
RL10 Rural Living, one residence per 10 acres
RL20 Rural Living, one residence per 20 acres
RC40 Resource Conservation, one residence per 40 acres
CS, CC, CG, Commercial Properties
CO, CN Commercial Properties
IC Industrial Properties