What is a GHAD?
A GHAD is an independent, state-level public agency that oversees geologic hazard prevention, mitigation, abatement and control. GHADs operate with a focus on the prevention of geologic hazards, with mitigation and abatement also being primary functions. A “geologic hazard” is broadly defined as an actual or threatened landslide, land subsidence, soil erosion, earthquake, fault movement or any other natural or unnatural movement of land or earth.
Advantages of Forming a GHAD
- Focus on prevention
- Rapid response capabilities
- Alternative to costly, time-consuming litigation
- Covers absence of insurance coverage for earth movement
- Broader range of available remedial measures
- Locally autonomous – exempt from local permitting requirements
- Increase public safety
GHAD Creation Process
Step 1: Planning
- Define GHAD Boundaries
- Establish GHAD responsibilities and limitations
- Assess whether to create a new GHAD or annex to an existing GHAD
Step 2: Formation
- Create a Plan of Control – what will the GHAD do?
- Determine a Board of Directors – who will run the GHAD?
Step 3: Financing
- Typically funded through supplemental property assessments; these are commonly included on a property tax bill
- Assessments are usually uniform (based on number of units, land area, sq. footage, etc.)
- Engineer’s report provides the basis for the operating budget
- Revenue stream is divided into operations and reserve accumulation
GHAD vs. Community Facilities Districts
Occasionally, the use of GHADs is evaluated against other long-term funding alternatives, such as Community Facilities Districts (CFDs). While the termination of CFDs is often tied to repayment of infrastructure bonds, GHADs are usually created with perpetual funding streams and corresponding long-term operations, maintenance and prevention responsibilities. Below is a brief comparison of several of the key aspects of GHADs and CFDs.
Some key benefits of GHADs over CFDs include:
- Own & acquire land
- Focus on hazard prevention
- Quickly respond to new land stability circumstances
- Less complicated formation & management requirements
- Unlimited duration