While residents of the city of Napa may see Measure A dollars at work on a near-daily basis, Napa County’s flood tax is also doing big things outside of city limits.
Measure A — Napa County’s flood protection and river restoration initiative — has been used to fund 12 projects in the county’s unincorporated area, said Rick Thomasser, Napa’s watershed and flood control operations manager.
Together, the projects have been allocated more than $18 million through the end of the 2011-12 fiscal year, roughly $11 million of which is expected to be spent by the end of June.
When voters approved a half-cent sales tax for flood control in 1998, the ballot language specified that projects in the unincorporated area should be related to reducing the risk of flood damage to structures and bridges in the floodplain and cutting back on sedimentation caused by storm water and agricultural runoff.
A portion of Measure A was also dedicated to stabilizing the quality of water in the Angwin and Deer Park area.
Of the 12 projects that have been allocated Measure A dollars, the Rutherford Reach — or Rutherford Dust — project has received the lion’s share.
Rutherford Reach calls for the restoration of 4.5 miles of riparian area between Zinfandel Lane and Oakville Cross Road and has required a partnership with 22 riverfront landowners.
For the 2010-11 fiscal year, the Rutherford Reach project was allocated more than $6.2 million in Measure A funding. That amount was recently increased to $7.3 million through fiscal year 2011-12.
Restoration of Napa’s waterways is also a prevalent theme in the Zinfandel Lane Bridge Fish Passage and the Sulphur Creek Sedimentation Reduction Project, which have been allocated $1.1 million and $230,000, respectively.
For county officials, the emphasis on repairing Napa’s natural assets has been well received.
“I think it’s particularly striking to see how much money is going toward the restoration of the Napa River and some of its tributaries,” Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht said.
“We’re really setting the stage for the future,” Thomasser said in response.
Other major projects in Napa’s unincorporated area include the Angwin/Deer Park Reliability Plan and Milliken-Sarco-Tulocay Recycled Water Plan in Coombsville. They have been allocated roughly $3 million and $2.8 million, respectively, through the end of fiscal year 2011-12.
Using Measure A dollars as leverage, officials have been able to secure matching funds for many of the unincorporated projects.
At the Rutherford Reach project, the additional $1.1 million allocated between fiscal years 2010-11 and 2011-12 was needed to match state and federal grants for construction and design.
“The end goal is 50-50,” Thomasser said of the matching efforts.
As Measure A projects continue to experience success, the possibility of matching funds becomes more likely. “It’s very evident, from the funding agencies, that this is a big thing going on,” he said.
Additional Measure A funds are being spent in each of the five cities in the Napa Valley. The half-cent flood sales tax expires in 2018.
In Napa, the federal government is matching the amount raised by the local sales tax.