Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that will allow Napa County to raise the grape grower assessment for farmworker housing.

Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, co-sponsored Senate Bill 240 with Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters that increases the state-imposed cap of $10 per acre annually to $15 an acre annually if the county Board of Supervisors wants to make the hike.

The assessment for the 2017-18 fiscal year that began in July will remain at $10 per acre for more than 45,000 acres of vineyards. County and wine industry officials have talked about phasing in higher assessments in the coming years.

Money from the assessment helps run three farmworker centers with a total of 180 beds for migrant workers. Lodgers also help pay for operation costs with a $14-a-night rent.

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County officials have said that higher assessments are needed to help keep the program in the black. Growers recently voted to extend the assessment for another five years.

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Barry Eberling covers Napa County government, transportation, the environment and general assignments. He was worked for the Napa Valley Register since fall 2014 and previously worked 27 years for the Daily Republic of Fairfield. He is a graduate of UC Sa