Extend Private Sewer Lateral Grant Program - YES
Sewer infrastructure in Corte Madera has two main components: the public sewer mains and pump stations that are owned and maintained by the Town, and the private sewer laterals that connect each home to those sewer mains, which are the property and responsibility of the homeowner.
While the Town has made good progress in updating our public sewer mains and pump stations, by 2018, the majority of private sewer laterals in town were original, and in dire need of repair. If you can believe it, many of these sewer laterals (underground pipes that connect your toilets and drains to the sewer system) were originally made of clay, and have become severely damaged over the decades. The result is what we call "inflow and infiltration," or I&I: raw sewage leaking into the soil and groundwater (a major environmental public health hazard), and vast quantities of rainwater entering the sewer system during the wet season, which in turn we all have to pay to treat (wasteful and expensive).
In 2018, the Town Council took action to address this urgent problem, by adopting a sewer lateral ordinance requiring property owners to have their private sewer laterals inspected, and if necessary, repaired, under certain circumstances. Some examples of triggers that require property owners to have their laterals inspected include selling your home, doing a major remodel, or having roadwork done on your street (it's cheaper and more efficient to repair the sewer laterals on a given street when the street is already being torn up anyways).
The ordinance has been incredibly successful in bringing Corte Madera's sewer infrastructure up to a safe standard—however, we recognize that repairing a sewer lateral can often cost as much as $10,000 or more, and that many homeowners are not prepared for such an expense when their lateral is "triggered."
That's why we created the Private Sewer Lateral Grant Program in 2019, a temporary pilot program where the Town helped defray the cost of sewer lateral inspections and repairs for homeowners by contributing up to $1,500 towards that work. That program was popular and successful, but with its upcoming expiration, I voted to extend the assistance for residents for another two years, and to boost the available grant funding to residents from $1,500 to $2,500.
I am incredibly proud of this successful program, and I hope it will continue to help residents fix their sewer laterals, while reducing their financial burden!