The following excuses will not help when your vehicle is being driven by an unlicensed driver and then stopped by a law enforcement officer for any reason.
• My brother borrowed the car. I did not know his license was suspended. Under section 14604 CVC, the owner of a motor vehicle has the duty to assure the person driving their vehicle has a valid license; however, if you allow or permit anyone, including your wife, son, daughter, friend or relative to drive your vehicle and that person does not have a valid license, then you will be responsible for the towing and storage fees. You will not have access to the vehicle for 30 days.
• She took my car without my permission. I am the owner, and I have a valid license. To say someone has taken your car without your permission is not a valid excuse. Ask yourself "How did this happen?" Have you allowed him/her to use your car before? Did you ask to see his/her license? Any vehicle impounded for this violation will be released to the registered owner after 30 days.
NOTE: If it is determined your car was taken by an unlicensed driver without your knowledge or permission, then a stolen vehicle report must be filed. The person charged with this crime will be arrested.
How do I get my car released?
At the end of 30 days, you must obtain a release from the Galt Police Department. The vehicle may be released prior to the end of the 30-day period when the driver reinstates his or her driver’s license or acquires a driver’s license and proper insurance. You will be given a release after paying an administrative fee related to the towing, processing and storage of your vehicle.
Why is driving without a valid license so serious?
Driving in California is a privilege, not a right. An unlicensed driver is a potential danger to all other motorists on the road. A driver who is unlicensed, suspended, or revoked has been ordered not to drive because of previous driving violations. Continuing to drive shows a flagrant disregard to the safety of other motorists.
What happens to my car…who impounds the car?
Your car will be stored at a tow yard and you will be given a receipt.
I don't understand…why 30 days? I absolutely need my car!
The legislature intended to provide safer roads for California's motoring public by removing the vehicles driven by unlicensed, suspended or revoked drivers for 30 days. A serious violation of the law calls for a serious response. The 30-day impound begins on the calendar day that the car is towed and will be released at the conclusion of the 30th day.
It was a minor infraction…why was my car impounded?
Both 14602.6 and 14607.6 of the California Vehicle Code give law enforcement officers the authority to impound your vehicle when it is being operated by an unlicensed, suspended or revoked driver. Your car is being impounded because you have committed a misdemeanor, not an infraction. By operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver's license you have committed a serious offense. In addition to the citation, the vehicle you are operating will be impounded and held for 30 days or possibly forfeited.
How long will my vehicle be impounded?
The vehicle will be impounded for 30 calendar days. The registered owner will have to pay for the towing and the 30-day storage fee to get the vehicle back at the end of that period.
Why was my car impounded?
Your vehicle was impounded because you or another individual driving your vehicle has:
a suspended license,
a revoked license,
or, does not have a valid license.
California Vehicle Code Sections 14602.6 AND 14607.6
On January 1st 1995, new laws were enacted relating to unlicensed drivers. These laws, California Vehicle Code Sections 14602.6 and 14607.6, authorize law enforcement agencies to tow and impound vehicles for 30 days when driven by unlicensed, suspended or revoked drivers. There is a possibility the vehicle could be forfeited (taken from you) if you have a prior conviction for driving while unlicensed, or with a suspended or revoked license.
14607.4 - The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
Driving a motor vehicle on the public streets and highways is a privilege not a right.
Of all drivers involved in fatal accidents more than 20 percent are not licensed to drive. A driver with a suspended license is four times as likely to be involved in a fatal accident as a properly licensed driver.
At any given time, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) estimates that out of approximately 20 million driver’s licenses issued to Californians, 720,000 are suspended or revoked. Furthermore, 1,000,000 persons are estimated to be driving without ever having been licensed.
Over 4,000 persons are killed in traffic accidents in California annually and another 330,000 persons suffer injuries.
Californians who comply with the law are frequently victims of traffic accidents caused by unlicensed drivers. These innocent victims suffer considerable pain and property loss at the hands of people who flaunt the law. The DMV estimates that 75% of all drivers whose driving privilege has been withdrawn continue to drive regardless of the law.
It is necessary and appropriate to take additional steps to prevent unlicensed drivers from driving, including the civil forfeiture of vehicles used by unlicensed drivers. The state has a critical interest in the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of Californians from the harm of unlicensed drivers, who are involved in a disproportionate number of traffic incidents, and the avoidance of the associated destruction and damage to lives and property.
When did the cellular phone laws take effect?
July 1, 2008
What if I need to use my phone during an emergency and I do not have a hands-free device?
The law allows a driver using a wireless telephone to make emergency calls, including, but not limited to, calls to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, or other emergency services agency.
What are the fines if I am convicted?
The base fine for a first offense is $20 and $50 for each subsequent conviction. The courts will impose additional administrative fees.
Will I receive a point on my driving record if I am convicted for a violation of the cellular phone law?
No. The violation is a reportable offense; however, DMV will not assign a violation point.
Will a conviction appear on my driving record?
Yes, but a violation point will not be added.
I drive a commercial vehicle and my phone has a "push-to-talk" feature that does not require me to place the phone to my ear, will I still be required to use a hands-free device?
No. Only class "A" or "B" licensees operating a truck tractor as defined in Vehicle Code (VC) 655 or a motor truck as defined in VC 410 are allowed to use a push-to-talk feature.
I drive a commercial pickup truck, may I use a two-way radio while driving?
No. The exemption does not apply to drivers of pickup truck with commercial plates, even if the pickup truck is used for commercial purposes, for example, a contractor, landscaper, or other business.
May I use the speakerphone feature and hold the phone in my hand, but not next to my ear?
No. The law requires you to use a hands-free device with your phone. A "push-to-talk" feature is not allowed.
My car has a built-in hands-free mobile phone feature. Is this adequate or do I have to buy additional equipment?
No. You do not need to purchase additional equipment. You may use your vehicle's hands-free mobile phone feature.
Can I send a text message on my phone or Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) while driving?
Are passengers covered by this law?
No. This law applies to the persons driving a motor vehicle.
Can I obtain a copy of my criminal history record from the police department?
Only local arrest history can be provided at our office. A request must be made in person at the public counter during business hours. A valid identification card with photograph must be presented at the time of the request items pickup. State criminal history information can only be obtained from the California Department of Justice, Record Review Unit at (916) 227-3816.
How do I obtain a copy of a police report?
The Police Records counter is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Police reports are generally available for copying 3 to 5 days after the date of report, although some traffic accident reports may require more time for the officer to complete. All requests for copies must be submitted in writing. A request form is available at the public counter, or copies can be requested via email. Copies can additionally be requested by fax at (209)366-7012. A name, address, phone number, date of incident, and case number, if known, should be included on the faxed in request. There is no charge for copies of police reports.
Does the Galt Police Department offer Live Scan services?
Live Scan services are only provided for City employees or Galt Elementary School District employees. These services are provided on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays between the hours of 09:00 and 16:00.
How do I obtain a restraining order?
In order to obtain information regarding restraining orders in Sacramento County, contact the William R. Ridgeway Courthouse at (916) 875-3400.
If it is daylight and raining and I have my windshield wipers on, do I have to have my headlights on?
Yes, California vehicle code section 24400(b)(2) requires that if a condition exists that requires the windshield wipers to be in continuous use the headlights MUST be on.
Do I have to have a front plate on my vehicle?
Yes, California vehicle code section 5200 requires that vehicles have a front and rear plate attached. You may have to contact your dealer to obtain a front mounting bracket.
Can I put after-market widow tinting on my vehicle?
The main requirements for legal window tinting in California are:
The windshield and front driver's side and passenger's side windows cannot receive any aftermarket tinting.
If the rear window of a vehicle is tinted, the vehicle must have outside rearview mirrors on both sides.
Is it my responsibility to remove graffiti on my property?
Yes. Galt City Ordinance 8.44.050 states..."No owner of a lot or parcel of land within the city shall, for a period in excess of forty-eight (48) hours, (A) permit graffiti to remain upon the lot or parcel of land, (B) maintain any structure affixed to such lot or parcel of land with graffiti on such structure or (C) maintain any personal property with graffiti on such lot or parcel of land or on any public owned property, including but not limited to public rights-of way." Further, even if the graffiti is on the back side of a fence, it is the property owners responsibility to remove.
What happens to unclaimed property?
All unclaimed property is sent to PropertyRoom.com. You may log onto their site and view property from law enforcement agencies throughout California.
My firearm was taken for safekeeping or evidence, how can I get it back?
California Penal Code Section 12021.3 states "…any person who claims title to any firearm that is in the custody or control of a court or law enforcement agency, and who wishes to have the firearm returned to him or her, shall make application for a determination by the Department of Justice as to whether he or she is eligible to possess a firearm". A Gun Release Application (pdf) must be submitted to the Department of Justice with a fee. Once a letter of determination has been returned to the applicant an appointment can be made with the Property Officer to pick up the firearm.
My property was taken for safekeeping or evidence, how can I get it back?
Property that has been taken by the Galt Police Department for safekeeping or evidence can be retrieved once a case has been adjudicated. A letter will be sent by the Property Officer once a release has been received from the District Attorney's office.
May I use a cellular phone with a hands-free device if I am under 18?
No. You cannot use a wireless telephone to speak or text, even if it is equipped with a hands-free device or speaker-phone featureif you are under the age of 18. You are also prohibited from using any other type of mobile service devices, for example, specialized mobile radios, broadband personal communication devices, handheld devices or laptop computers, pagers, or two-way messaging, and texting devices. Exception: Permitted in emergency situations
If I am under 18, can a peace officer stop me if he/she suspects I am using a cellular phone or other mobile service device?
A law enforcement officer may pull you over if he/she observes or determines you are using a cellular phone.
Why is the law stricter for provisional drivers?
Statistics show that teen drivers are more likely than older drivers to be involved in accidents because they lack driving experience and tend to take greater risks. Distractions, such as talking with passengers, eating or drinking, and talking on cellular phones or texting increase the chance you will be involved in a serious accident.
Can my parents give me permission to allow me to use my cellular phone when driving?
No. The only exception is an emergency situation that requires you to call a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department or other emergency entity.
If I am emancipated, does the restriction apply to me?
Yes, the restriction applies to all holders of an instruction permit and all licensed drivers under age 18.
If I have my parent(s) or someone age 25 years or older in the car with me, may I use my cellular phone while driving?
No. You may only use a cellular phone or mobile service device in an emergency situation.
Will the restriction appear on my provisional license?
If my car has a built in hands-free phone feature, may I use it while driving?
No. The law prohibits anyone under 18 years old from using any type of wireless device while driving, except in certain emergency situations.
When did the cellular phone laws take effect?
The laws took effect July 1, 2008.
How do I find out about energy efficiency assistance programs for homes and businesses in Galt?
Energy Upgrade CaliforniaTM is a statewide web portal that serves as a one stop clearinghouse for all available energy efficiency rebates, incentives, and programs. Interested homeowners and business owners just enter the name of the county where they reside (Galt is in Sacramento County) and the website will identify all known energy efficiency programs available in this area. The website is www.energyupgradeca.org.
How do I dispose of unused pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medications responsibly?
Flushing unused or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications down the sink or toilet can pollute the environment. Check whether your local Household Hazardous Waste facility or pharmacy accepts unwanted medications. If not, to prevent accidental ingestion and keep unused medications out of our waterways, follow these guidelines from the office of National Drug Control Policy, to dispose of unwanted medications.*
Make pills or liquid medicines unrecognizable by mixing them with an inedible substance (dirt, coffee, kitty litter, etc.) and placing them into a container. Crushing or dissolving pills will further prevent reuse.
Place container into a non-descript bag or can and seal with tape.
Place bag or can into trash can.
Remember to always black out personal information on your prescription bottles.
For more information on local disposal, please call our "Don't Flush Your Meds" hotline at (916) 875-9393 or visit www.dontflushyourmeds.com
I am moving to a house in Galt, how do I start up utility service?
Contact the Utility Billing section of the Finance Department at 209-366-7150. You can also download a utility application form and bring it with you to the Finance Department located at 380 Civic Drive.
When are utility bills due?
Bills are due when received, but must be paid by the fifth of odd numbered months to avoid delinquent charges.
Do you offer a senior discount for water rates?
Unfortunately, it is not legally possible to offer discounted rates to senior residents without making up the discount from some other source. State law (Proposition 218) requires that all residents be charged equally for the actual cost of a service.
The bi-monthly bill amount is too large - can we be billed monthly?
Monthly billing is not available, however customers can make monthly payments via direct payment or on their own as well.
Is a security deposit required?
Yes, but may be waived with proof of good credit. A deposit will be required if service is disconnected for lack of payment (a one-time hardship waiver is available).
How do I close my account?
Call the Finance Department at 209-366-7150. Owners are responsible for account until close of escrow.
Is there a fee or cost for EFT?
No. EFT is a free service.
Can I use EFT to pay my bill monthly?
Yes. If you are a regular bi-monthly customer, the EFT will be withdrawn from your bank account on the 5th of each month or next business day.
How can I get a temporary dumpster for my home?
Contact California Waste Removal Systems at 209-369-6887.
Who do I call about changes in garbage service, misses, extras, billings, damaged carts, stops in service?
Call the Finance Department at 209-366-7150 for billing questions, start and stops in service. Questions regarding misses, extra or damaged carts, contact California Waste Removal Systems at 209-369-6887.
Where can I find a copy of the City's Adopted Budget?
A copy of the current Adopted Budget in its entirety is available online, at the City Clerk’s Office and the Marian O. Lawrence Library.
I received a public hearing notice in the mail. What does this mean?
A public hearing notice is a required notice sent by the city to property owners who are in the vicinity of a property, usually with 500 feet, where development or changes are proposed. Such notice invites public participation in the decision-making process. If you received a public hearing notice in the mail and would like more information on the specific project, you may contact the Planning Division at 209-366-7230 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the zoning on my property?
You may obtain zoning information for specific parcels by calling the Planning Division at 209-366-7230 or via email - email@example.com. To review zoning districts, please refer to the Municipal Code
What is my Assesor Parcel Number (APN)?
Your Assessor Parcel Number (APN) is a 12-digit number that is found on your tax bill or tax receipt. Each parcel of land has its own unique number that identifies the property's location. If you have a site address, the city can obtain your parcel number.
What are "Setbacks"?
A setback is the required distance that a building and/or structure must be located from a property line, edge of an easement, or other structures on the property. Setbacks may vary by the property's zoning disignation and/or lot size. Setbacks can be found in the Zoning Code, Chapter 18 of the Galt Municipal Code or you may contact the Planning Division to verify your zoning and required setbacks at 209-366-7230 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Where can I dispose of used oil and used oil filters?
Visit the following web site: http://california.earth911. You may also dispose of used oil and used oil filters at the two City HHW events, typically held in the spring and fall. Details will be published in the Galt Herald and your City newsletter, or call (209) 366-7100.
Does the City have a curbside pick-up program?
Each residence can receive Bulky Waste Collection Service up to two (2) times per year by telephoning Cal Waste’s office at (209) 369-6887 to request service. Cal Waste will come to your house and pick up your bulky waste on your next regularly scheduled service day.
Where can I dispose of Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)?
Visit the following web site: http://california.earth911.org. You may also dispose of household hazardous waste twice a year at the City of Galt's HHW Event, typically held in the spring and fall. Details will be published in the Galt Herald and your City newsletter, or call (209) 366-7100.
Where do I obtain information regarding solid waste collection?
To obtain information regarding your garbage collection schedule, acceptable recycling, yard & garden, and regular items for disposal, and other residential/commercial services that the City’s franchise hauler, California Waste Recover Systems, offers, please visit their website at http://www.cal-waste.com.
When will my street be resurfaced?
The City streets were recently rated on their present pavement condition. Typically, main streets and secondary collectors receive a higher priority for pavement resurfacing than residential streets.
When will the Street Sweeper clean my street?
Sweepers operate on a schedule. Generally, the sweeper runs on every street at least once a month. Commercial streets and collector streets are swept twice as often as residential streets. The sweeper assists in cleaning streets, but cannot remove all trash and debris. Property owners are responsible for keeping the street and sidewalk free of debris.
How can we get sidewalks clear of low hanging trees?
Trees on private property are the responsibility of the property owner to trim. Trees should be trimmed at least 8 feet above the sidewalk and one foot back of sidewalk. Trees and bushes also cannot block viewing of traffic and parking signs. Trees located on private property whose branches interfere with electrical transmission lines may be altered by SMUD. If City-owned trees are encroaching on sidewalks or signage, contact Public Works at (209) 366-7260 to have trimmed.
May I push leaves and dirt into the street for the sweeper to remove?
No. The sweeper cannot pick up all debris and leaves are particularly hard to pick up. Additionally, placing leaves or dirt in the street is a serious violation of stormwater pollution prevention ordinances and can lead to serious fines. Place all dirt and leaves in your yard/garden waste disposal bin for pickup on your scheduled trash pick-up day. Remove all trash and leaves from the street gutter immediately in front of your property and dispose of in trash and yard/garden waste bins. The street sweeper will assist in keeping large road areas clean.
How do I get my sidewalk repaired?
Sidewalk maintenance is the responsibility of the property owner. A licensed contractor should perform the work. Homeowners may request an encroachment permit at no cost for sidewalk repairs.
May I leave piles of topsoil or bark on the street or sidewalk for a home improvement project?
No. A permit is required to place or work in the City right-of-way. Due to stormwater protection practices, the City will most likely not approve a permit for placing materials on the street or sidewalk.
Can I set my basketball hoop on the street for my children?
No. Hoops must be placed on private property. Hoops in the street block parking, pose a vehicle hazard and encourage children to play in the street.
A streetlight has been out on my street for two months. Why hasn’t the City repaired it yet?
The City repairs City-owned streetlights and SMUD-owned but City-maintained streetlights. Public Works relies on citizens to report streetlight problems for repair. We do not have staff that specifically locates streetlight problems. Please contact Public Works at (209) 366-7260.
What materials do I need to bring with me to the Engineering Division in order to apply for a permit?
A plot plan showing the existing conditions and the proposed changes you want to make. This plan must show the current drive approach, trees, meter boxes, walls and the neighbor's driveway, if it is adjacent to yours. It must also be drawn to scale.
What are the minimum requirements for residential driveways/parkway areas?
Residential driveways/parking areas shall be a minimum width of 10 feet and lead to an approved carport or garage. The drive approach on public right-of-way shall also be the same width as the driveway, on your property. The plot plans will assist the City in determining if the proposed improvement will meet the city code and to ensure the proposed driveway does not impact adjacent improvements such as fire hydrant, meter box, etc.
Who is responsible for maintaining or replacing the sidewalk in front of my home/business?
Per city ordinance, the adjacent property owner is responsible for maintenance and/or replacement unless a city street tree has damaged the side walk. The Public Works Department can make an inspection to determine cause of damage.
When is the best time of year to prune/trim my trees?
Pruning may be done any time of the year, but some times of year are better than others. Deciduous trees that flower before the end of May should be pruned right after blooming. Deciduous tress that flower after May should be pruned between January and March. Prune flowering Cherry trees in late summer, flowering Evergreens in May, and Conifers in autumn. Remove dead, damaged, or diseased wood as soon as it is discovered.
What makes a pothole?
Potholes are created when moisture seeps into the pavement and sub-base causing asphalt, road base or sub-base failure. Air temperature changes also cause expansion and contraction of the pavement. This weakens the pavement and then vehicular traffic loosens the pavement even more; it eventually crumbles and pops out.
Why do so many potholes occur in the winter and spring?
Rainwater makes its way through the cracks in the pavement and will create voids under the pavement that can eventually cause the pavement to break up. A winter of heavy rain and many warm/cold cycles can create conditions leading to a significant pothole season ahead.
Who can I call to report a pothole?
If the pothole is on a city street, call the Public Works Department at (209) 366-7260 between the hours of 7:30 am and 5:30 pm. After hours or on weekends, call the Police Department at (209) 366-7000.
Once I report a pothole, how long does it take to get it fixed?
Normally it will be temporarily patched within 48 hours. Maintenance crews are constantly on the lookout for potholes, but the city welcomes citizen calls about potholes as well.
How are potholes and utility trenches repaired?
During cold weather, repairs are made using "modified" cold patch asphalt. One of the characteristics of the modified cold patch is its ability to wick any water out of a pothole. This wicking characteristic can speed up the repair process and make it more permanent. During the summer, hot asphalt and compaction rollers are used to seal up shallow potholes and cracks in road pavement. This type of preventative maintenance helps to stop potholes from forming in the spring. Permanent hot mix asphalt work can only be properly done when the ambient temperature is 60 degrees or warmer. If the existing pavement is cold and the air temperature is too low, or if the pavement is wet and dirty, the hot mix will not adhere to the existing pavement.
Do some roads have more potholes than others?
Roads with high traffic volumes have more potholes than others due to the sheer weight and volume of traffic.
Can anything be done to prevent potholes?
Roads today are being built to reduce their moisture capacity, and researchers are working to develop a better, more durable pavement. Researchers also have improved the cold-patch asphalt so those patches last longer. This "high performance" material comes in 50 lb. bags, and stays pliable and workable in the coldest of temperatures. Several types of pavement surface treatments are available to help prevent pavement deterioration, depending on the condition of the road section, and the amount of City dollars available to spend on them.
How can I volunteer to help the City be a better place to live and work?
The Public Works Department sponsors a number of activities to improve our City: hydrant painting, stormwater drain marking, sign cleaning, adopt-a-street.
Does the City add fluoride to its water?
No. Any fluoride found in City water occurs naturally.
I am trying to program my new water softener - What is the hardness of Galt water?
Galt water has a low hardness value - From 64 - 122 ppm (parts per million). We recommend that you consult your manufactures guidelines for settings and adjust accordingly.
Can we have a STOP sign to control speeding?
A STOP sign is intended to determine the right-of-way at an intersection. It is a rather poor speed control device. Studies have shown that the effectiveness of a STOP sign on speed ranges from 100 to 150 feet from the sign, after which a vehicle will regain its original speed or faster. If a speeding problem exists, contact the Police Department at (209) 366-7000 for traffic enforcement.
Does the City install speed humps or bumps?
The City does not install speed humps or bumps on any public streets. The speed hump is not considered an official traffic control device and its use could render the City liable should any problems arise. Speed humps may also delay response time for emergency vehicles.
Can we have “SLOW CHILDREN AT PLAY” signs?
“SLOW – WATCH FOR CHILDREN” signs may be installed by the City for a limited period on City streets. Requests should be submitted to Public Works for evaluation.
Why am I waiting at a red light when there is no cross traffic?
It could be that the signal is malfunctioning. If you notice a signal that suddenly does not function like it normally did, please contact Public Works at (209) 366-7260 so we can check it out. In many cases that is the only way we will know if something is wrong.
Can we have a crosswalk?
Marked crosswalks are typically placed at signalized or STOP controlled intersections. The markings on the roadway have shown to give pedestrians a false sense of security and, therefore, not marking them tends to lead the pedestrians to be more careful. Requests for a marked crosswalk should be sent to Public Works.
Can you lower the speed limit so everyone will drive slower?
The speed limit is set based on standards found in the California Vehicle Code, except in residential and school areas where the limit is 25 mph. The Vehicle code requires an engineering study be performed in order to set the speed limit. Lowering a speed limit in hopes of slowing down vehicles generally does not work, and is not necessarily enforceable by California Law. Drivers tend to drive at a speed, which they feel is comfortable.
My street name sign is missing. Can the City install one?
Contact Public Works at (209) 366-7260 to replace missing signs.
I got a speeding ticket by a policeman using a radar gun. Is that legal?
The use of radar to determine speeds has very specific rules. If you are issued a speeding ticket on a City road, the road is classified as “local” or a valid engineering study exists for that road.
I can’t see down the street because cars park right next to my driveway. What can be done?
The City can prohibit parking for various safety reasons. Parking, in residential areas, is not restricted due to the impact on homeowners. Exiting a driveway safely is a slow and deliberate maneuver by a driver.
Employees of other local businesses park in front of my business. Can I get limited time parking signs installed?
Limited time parking is expensive to enforce. You may submit a request to Public Works but unless the Police Department has sufficient enforcement personnel, restrictions will not be approved.
What can I do about cars and trucks parked in front of my house?
A vehicle can legally park anywhere on any public street. Examples of illegally parked vehicles are: vehicles parked in excess of a consecutive period of 72 hours, detached camp trailer, carry all, dumpster, and semi-trailer between the hours of 2:00 am and 6:00 am; and a vehicle with a gross weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more.
What effect is the new NPDES wastewater permit going to have on me?
In the next 5 years, it has the potential of raising your current sewer rate from 2-1/2 to 4 times over what it is today. Recent increases on your bill may not even cover the costs needed for this year.
What are we “required” to do with this new permit that is going to cost so much?
Our discharge is now classified as a potential municipal water supply; the RWQCB is not allowing any dilution credits and still requires us to reclaim all discharge water in the summer. Initial cost estimates to comply are about $40 million in improvements and an additional $3 million a year to operate.
· Without any dilution credits and classified as a potential municipal water supply, we basically have to discharge water of a quality better than drinking water.
· Without being able to discharge water all year, we have to irrigate land 6 months each year. This will also require the City to purchase about 350 more acres of land.
How can these enormous cost increases happen?
Elected officials along with City staff have been working on every possible solution to mitigate these cost impacts. The RWQCB interprets regulations and while the regulations have not substantially changed, the interpretations have. Both staff and elected officials have spoken before the RWQCB and what it costs you, the end user, is not a primary concern.
I pay a stormwater fee. What does this money pay for?
The Stormwater Fund helps cover the costs of programs for preventive maintenance, drainage repair, construction projects, and stormwater pollution prevention. The Stormwater Utility also funds repair and construction projects that directly target local flooding problems. Typical repair requirements include blockage by tree roots, physical damage from aging and settling and landscape conditions altering over time.
Why do I pay a drainage maintenance fee when I don’t have ditches or drain inlets on or near my property?
The water that leaves your property (runoff), either from irrigation or rainfall, ultimately drains into a Stormwater Utility facility. (All roads in the City also must be drained.) You are assessed a fee because this runoff contributes to the need for maintenance.
My gutter is flooded at the drain inlet on the street. How do I get this unplugged?
The property owner is responsible for keeping the gutter free of leaves and other debris. If the drain inlet gets plugged during a storm, the property owner may pull out debris with a rake or shovel. NEVER REMOVE THE INLET GRATE! If your efforts to clear the inlet blockage are unsuccessful, contact Public Works at (209) 366-7260; or after hours, Galt PD at (209) 366-7000 for assistance.
Why is my neighbor’s water bill different than mine when we both receive water from the City of Galt?
Not everybody is on a flat water rate. Some residents receive metered water and their rates fluctuate with their use.
What can I do to conserve water?
Water conservation is easy. Just following a few simple tips can make a really big difference:
Water when evaporation is low, between midnight and 10:00 am. Try to avoid using water during the peak-use hours of 5:00 am – 8:00 am.
Follow an odd/even water schedule.
Use a drip irrigation system to prevent runoff by applying water directly to the plant’s root zone.
Select water efficient landscape plants.
Sweep or rake up debris instead of hosing it away.
Use a pistol grip nozzle on your hose to prevent water from running continuously.
Adjust your sprinkler heads to make sure water is going where it’s needed and not on sidewalks and driveways.
Do not cycle/run sprinkler system too long into the street gutter. Water should not drain.
I’ve read several articles lately on water quality. How do I know my drinking water is safe?
The Utilities Division of Public Works monitors your drinking water regularly. Annually, our customers receive a Consumer Confidence Report detailing the composition of their drinking water. You can view this document in its entirety on the City’s web page under Public Works, Utilities Division. If you are a City of Galt customer and don’t have a copy of the Consumer Confidence Report, please call Public Works at (209) 366-7260.
I have brown water coming out of my faucets and in my toilets. Can the City come out and fix the problem?
First check to see if ONLY the hot water is brown in color. If the brown water occurs when using hot water, this discoloration is caused by sedimentation in the hot water heater and generally indicates that the hot water heater should be flushed. Consult your owner’s manual for the proper procedure to flush the hot water heater. Most manufacturers recommend that hot water heaters should be flushed once per year.
If your cold water is brown, it is generally caused by iron and manganese. These minerals are not hazardous but often coat the interior of pipes. Any change in the flow of water can cause these minerals to run free. If this occurs, customers should flush water from their main hose bib, usually located in the front of the house for approximately 3 minutes. If this does not clear the problem, contact the Public Works Department at (209) 366-7260. The City works to minimize this problem by periodically flushing water mains throughout the system.
What do I do if I need to report a sewer mainline blockage or other sewer maintenance?
If you need to report a sewer mainline blockage, or any other need for sewer maintenance, staff can be contacted by phone at any time. During normal working hours, 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Monday through Thursday, please call (209) 366-7260. To report an incident during off hours (including Fridays), contact the Galt Police Department at (209) 366-7000 and they will contact on-call maintenance personnel.
My plumber said there is a problem with my sewer and that the City will fix it. Is this true?
Actually, the City is responsible for maintaining the sewer mainline only. Maintenance of a sewer lateral attached from the residence to the mainline serving private property is the responsibility of the property owner. The property owner must clear line blockages to the mainline. Call your plumber first.
I called my plumber out to fix a sewer stoppage. He said the blockage is on the City’s side. Will the City clear the blockage and who will pay my plumber bill?
Many plumbers and property owners are not aware that in the City of Galt, the property owner is responsible for the entire sewer lateral. This includes the portion of the lateral in the public right of way to where it connects with the sewer main. However, if a plumber believes the problem is in the City’s main, contact the Public Works Department at (209) 366-7260. Public Works staff will investigate. If the problem is in the City’s main, Public Works staff will clear any blockage. If the problem was the responsibility of the City, you may file a claim for reimbursement of plumbing costs. There are two exceptions. When the lateral service from the sidewalk to the sewer main is actually broken, the City will replace the broken line. If a tree maintained by the City damages a sewer lateral, the City will repair the lateral. If your plumber discovers a damaged line in the sidewalk or street area, he should contact the Public Works Department at (209) 366-7260.
There are tree roots in my line, apparently from my yard tree. My plumber says the line must be broken, and he wants a lot of money to fix it. What should I do?
First, find out if the line is actually broken. This can be done using a TV camera designed to fit in the sewer pipe. Your plumber may be able to do this. If it is not broken (small cracks are common) and the line is clear, a regular treatment of commercially available root killer will mitigate root intrusion. If the line is broken, you may want to obtain several price quotations for its repair. The property owner is responsible for any damage to any lines or structures caused by his/her own trees.
Can my plumber work on my sewer line?
If the work is to be done entirely on your property, yes. A plumber with a C-36 Contractors License and Galt City business license can do the work. A general Class A, Sewer Contractor Class C-42, or Pipeline Class C-34 license and a Galt City business license with a $1,000,000 insurance policy on file are required to do work within public right-of-way (e.g., under sidewalk, in the parkway or the street). An encroachment permit from the City would be necessary to work within public right-of-way. To obtain a permit, contact the Engineering Division at (209) 366-7260.
What kind of pipe can I use to repair my sewer line?
If there are no root problems, vitrified clay pipe (VCP, AKA red clay pipe), Schedule (Sch) 40 PVC, or Sch 40 ABS may be used.
What type of permit is required?
Permits for work on your property are issued by the City’s Building Department at (209) 366-7200. Permits for work within public right-of-way (sidewalk and street area) are issued by the Engineering Division at (209) 366-7260.
Why are wastewater rates increasing so quickly?
The major cause is our new National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit. Your elected officials along with City staff have been trying everything possible to mitigate the cost impacts of this permit. They have given public testimony before the Regional Water Board, met with Federal and State representatives, filed an appeal with the State Water Board and approached the League of California Cities for assistance. The requirements of the new permit are onerous and expensive.
Is there anything we can do to ease the burden of higher rates?
EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) is now available and has the added advantage of allowing average monthly billing for residential customers. Sign up at the Finance Department at 380 Civic Drive. In addition, the City will be updating accounting software, which may allow some “level-loading” of annual water and wastewater usage for customers on meters.
What is the purpose of this rate increase?
The purpose of this rate increase is to begin to collect funds required to pay for the upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant mandated by the State of California.
The City has an anticipated deadline in 2010. This fund augments existing funds to pay for many (but not all) of the projects necessary for the next two years.
How much will the upgrade cost?
The current estimate is between $48M and $63M to serve the customers within the existing City limits.
Will new development benefit from this fee?
Any new development outside the existing City limits will be required to pay for expansion of the wastewater treatment plant. This fee will cover only the upgrade of the existing wastewater treatment plant and will not cover expansion costs.
What is the difference between "upgrade" and "expansion"?
Yes. The City will be conducting a formal rate study in the near future to determine a fair and equitable cost for residents and businesses.
What will happen if the City does not upgrade the wastewater treatment plant?
If the City does not upgrade the wastewater treatment plant by the anticipated 2010 deadline, the City could potentially face fines up to $1.6M per month.
What is the difference between the Galt Market from Tuesday to Wednesday?
The Tuesday Market offers both wholesale and retail sales of it's new merchandise. The Wednesday Market offers retail sales of new merchandise.
Both Market days offer flea market merchandise, garage sale items and produce.
Is there a ATM located at the Galt Market?
Yes. It is located next to the Galt Market office. It will accept any PIN based debit or credit card.
How do I become a Galt Market vendor?
To be a vendor at the Galt Market, you will need to have a Seller's Permit from the State Board of Equalization and a Business License from the City of Galt. A Seller's Permit needs to have your name as the vendor and our address, 890 Caroline Avenue, Galt, CA 95632, as the located listed. Once you have obtained the Seller's Permit, you may buy a Business License from the City of Galt
However, if you currently have a valid Seller's Permit and would like to try selling at the Galt Market before obtaining a corrected Seller's Permit or Galt Business License, you may do so twice in a calendar year on either Tuesday or Wednesday.
When you are ready to sell, bring your Seller's Permit, Business License, and Driver's License to the Market office to obtain a space. You may sell as a daily or monthly vendor. Daily spaces require no advance reservation and are purchased in the morning on the day you want to sell. Tuesday and Wednesday daily spaces are sold by lottery, one at 6am and another at 7:15am.