Wednesday, February 1, 2017

UPDATE: San Francisco Business Tax Updates February 2017 - Resources for Small Businesses



The tax filing deadline is February 28th. All taxpayers should have received their filing notices by now. Please let me know if you have any feedback. Below are some news updates that may be of interest.

Tax Seminar at the Main Library Wednesday February 15, 3:00 p.m.


Once again, the Treasurer's office will host a free tax seminar at the San Francisco Public Library Main Branch Koret Auditorium. The event will be Wednesday, February 15 at 3:00 p.m. They will demonstrate some examples of tax filings and take general questions about the annual return filing process. This event is designed for use by small businesses that do not use tax preparers. More information is available here

2016 Annual Return Videos Posted


With regard to the Treasurer's office ongoing efforts to make tax reporting accessible to all San Franciscans, they have produced videos on how to file an Annual Return under various circumstances. You may view them here.

Legislative Update

File 161264, which proposes to modify the quarterly filing and payment requirements for payroll expense taxes and gross receipts taxes, clarify the requirements for requesting an extension, and expressly permit taxpayers to apply refunds of the business registration fee, the payroll expense tax, and the gross receipts tax to subsequent tax periods, has passed the Board of Supervisors and is to the Mayor’s desk.

File 161225, which proposes to remove the $100 minimum penalty from one of the penalties for failing to register with the Tax Collector; and to remove the fee and administrative requirements for obtaining a duplicate registration certificate.

Both of these proposed ordinances were guided by feedback from the business community about simplifying quarterly installment payments, applying refunds to subsequent tax periods, and reducing penalties and fees on small businesses, passed unanimously on first reading on January 31. It will come back for a second reading on February 7.

Small Business Enterprise Thresholds Increase

The San Francisco Treasurer's office has announced increased small business enterprise thresholds for tax year 2016 and retroactively increased thresholds for 2015. Taxpayers affected by the 2015 retroactive increase have been contacted directly. You can find more information as well as the 2016 tax rates here.

Combined Groups of Related Entities – 2016 Annual Return Functionality Enhancements

If you or the taxpayer you are filing for is filing on behalf of a combined group of related entities, or was part of a combined group for a portion of the tax year, the San Francisco Treasurer's office has added online functionality so most combined groups do not have to file by mail and can more easily report your group members. Combined groups of related entities will need to report their group members in the annual return (rather than through Account Update), including the dates the entities were part of the group, and the extent they are unitary with the group. Tax preparers should have this information ready when filing to facilitate their filing process. For information about what constitutes a combined group of related entities, please see the instructions for the 2016 return here.

How to Access the 2016 Annual Return


The 2016 Tax Year Annual Return is accessbile at http://sftreasurer.org/2016GRPY.

To enter the Online Return you will need:

1. Seven digit Business Account Number
2. Last four digits of your business tax identification number (Federal EIN or SSN)
3. Eight digit alphanumeric Online PIN (same as prior year)

The The San Francisco Treasurer's office sent out filing notices in mid-January that included the Business Account Number, Online PIN, and other information to assist taxpayers with filing their Return, including all quarterly installment payments received by the office. 

San Francisco City Performance Financial Scorecards - How Well is the City Managing Your Tax Dollars?



Did you know that the City and County of San Francisco issues scorecards that measure the financial performance of the municipality?



This data is important as BOMA San Francisco members contribute millions of dollars annually to The City in the form of transfer taxes, property taxes, and fees, to name a few. It's important to know how our elected leaders are using the funds from BOMA membersthe greater business community and residents to ensure they are utilizing the funds efficaciously.

If this information intrigues you, please consider joining BOMA San Francisco's Government Affairs Committee by contacting the Chair, Marty Smith, President and Owner of Alhouse Deaton, at msmith@alhousedeaton.com.


BOMA San Francisco Government Affairs Committee Members Meet with California Assemblymember David Chiu





BOMA San Francisco Government Affairs Policy Advisory Committee (GAPAC), met with California State Assemblymember David Chiu recently. Mr. Chiu represents San Francisco and BOMA has worked with the Assemblymember for many years on various issues affecting the commercial real estate industry in San Francisco.

It was a pleasure to welcome Assemblymember Chiu to speak with a select group of BOMA San Francisco advocacy and business leaders to get an early look at many issues including:
  • California politics in 2017 – what can BOMA San Francisco and BOMA California members (and the business community) expect?
    • The California State Legislature has a supermajority (two thirds) of members from the Democratic Party in both the State Senate and Assembly. 
      • This could mean that many proposals important to the party may become law although Governor Jerry Brown has the final review of all measures. He is known to be thoughtful about his decisions to enact a law with a pragmatic and future focused approach to public policy.
    • There will be a major focus on housing in the Legislature by Mr. Chiu and his colleagues. Stay tuned.
    • Transportation improvements are also a priority.
    • Homelessness and street behavior in the major cities are issues and should be addressed.
  • The California State Legislature’s possible public policy outcomes vis-à-vis a Trump Administration and how will that affect and San Francisco?
    • As BOMA members are already aware, predicting what President Trump will do that could have a fiscal and/or social impact to San Francisco and California is not easy.
      • Many important San Francisco and California issues that he has targeted such as  Obamacare, immigration, trade, and the environment have a significant impact to society and the bottom line of the State and The City and County of San Francisco 
  • Chiu’s thoughts on Proposition 13 and its future.
    • A number one priority for our members is the predictability that Proposition 13 provides for all property owners - both commercial and residential. BOMA California will monitor any potential changes that come, either through the initiative or legislative process, that may affect this important tax protection that California voters approved many years ago. 
      • Mr. Chiu did not have information about Proposition 13 at this time.
  • The Assemblymember's thoughts on the state’s budget prognosis – with a projected $2 billion dollar shortfall in 2017/2018 – given a predicted turn in the economy around 2019 (depending on who you ask, of course).
    • At the Federal level, if an action is impactful to California and San Francisco budgets - note that San Francisco receives 1 billion dollars from the State in direct and indirect methods - then it is possible that revenue measures may be necessary and every option might be on the table.

The bottom line is that there are many unknowns and it is difficult to answer these questions right now. Even so, BOMA San Francisco members felt that this meeting was very productive and will monitor proposals at every level of government to ensure that BOMA members interests are met. 

BOMA thanks Assemblymember Chiu for talking with us and for his dedication to San Francisco in the California State Legislature. Our members look forward to meeting with him again a few more times in 2017 and 2018.

BOMA San Francisco Government Affairs Committee Members Meet with San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell





BOMA San Francisco Government Affairs Policy Advisory Committee (GAPAC), met with San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell recently. Mr. Farrell represents District 2 in San Francisco , which includes the Presidio, Marina, Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Anza Vista, Laurel Heights, Jordan Park, the Lake Street corridor, Sea Cliff and parts of Russian Hill.

For the first meeting of the year, BOMA San Francisco's Government Affairs Committee leaders wanted to hear from Mr. Farrell who has chaired the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee for the last four years.

BOMA members' activities contribute a lot of money to the City and County of San Francisco - via transfer taxes, property taxes, fees and jobs created. One aspect of paying into our local government is that the money is spent efficaciously for all who live and work in San Francisco. As such, his insight to how budget process works, and how the Board members and the Mayor's office might be looking at covering projected budget shortfalls, is very important to BOMA members and to their many small business tenants.

We also asked Mr. Farrell to speak about other issues of importance. Here is a synopsis of our conversation:

  • How will a Trump Administration affect City Hall public policy outcomes? 
    • The budget could be substantially impacted quickly if the Federal Government does stop funding for state and/or local programs that have already expected those funds for the fiscal year budget.
  • What will the public priorities be for the Board of Supervisors in 2017
    • Housing - especially affordable housing
    • Essential immigrant services 
    • Transportation 
    • Homelessness
    • Public Safety
BOMA thanks Mr. Farrell for his time and we look forward to working with him in the new year,

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

BOMA International Advocacy Update: Lawmakers Return to Capitol Hill, ADA Drive By Lawsuits and New OSHA Regulations


115th Congress

The 115th U.S. Congress officially commenced on Tuesday, January 3, as both chambers swore in the newly elected lawmakers and kicked-off official business. Before the Republican-controlled Congress could begin tackling their ambitious agenda for the next two years, the House of Representatives once again voted in Paul Ryan as the Speaker of the House. Speaker Ryan, who now begins his first full, two-year term, received almost unanimous support from his party. Nancy Pelosi once again will serve as minority leader, a position that she has held since 2011.

Mitch McConnell continues his role as Senate majority leader, but Senator Chuck Schumer takes the place of retired Senator Harry Reid as leader of the Senate Democrats. Over the next few weeks, the Senate is scheduled to hold a series of votes to pass a budget and begin hearings to fulfill their duty to confirm the president’s cabinet appointments.

BOMA International’s advocacy team met with BOMA member leaders and staff from around the country this past weekend at the BOMA International Winter Business Meeting and have been hard at work collaborating with the new Congress on commercial real estate's priority issues for 2017.

Stay tuned for a future post on what was discussed at the Winter Business Meeting.


60 Minutes Features Story on Drive-By ADA Lawsuits

Earlier this month, 60 Minutes featured a segment detailing the growing trend of lawsuits filed against businesses around the U.S. relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Host Anderson Cooper demonstrated how attorneys file lawsuits after simply driving by a business or looking at satellite imagery of a building to spot highly technical accessibility issues. This segment brought much-needed attention to the issue, which BOMA International has been working hard to remedy with the help of lawmakers.

BOMA’s advocacy team currently is working in support of federal legislation that protects commercial buildings from this harmful practice through the introduction of a “notice and cure” period that allows building owners 120 days to correct identified ADA violations before the commencement of litigation. This provision upholds the intent of the ADA, which is to foster an accessible environment for individuals with disabilities. BOMA members looking for additional information about this issue can reach out to BOMA International’s Manager of Advocacy Dylan Isenberg at disenberg@boma.org.


OSHA Publishes New Safety Regulations

On November 17, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) published new regulations on Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Safety. These regulations are intended to increase worker safety and limit the number of accidents associated with the use of stairs, ladders and other elevated work surfaces. Starting January 1, 2017, rope-descending systems can only be used in buildings less than 300 feet in height. The regulations also require building owners to have all existing roof anchor systems used as tie-off points for rope-descending systems inspected and certified by November 17, 2017, and a copy of the certification will need to be provided to any contractor using the roof anchor system.

BOMA encourages all building owners and managers to read OSHA’s fact sheet to understand how the rules will affect their workplaces and properties. Property professionals should verify that contractors who inspect and certify anchorage points meet the necessary qualifications. If you have any questions or need more assistance, please contact BOMA International’s Director of Codes & Standards Steve Orlowski at sorlowski@boma.org.

UPDATE: San Francisco Legislation Requiring Choice in Internet/Communication Providers for Tenants of Commercial and Residential Properties


UPDATE - January 31, 2017

Supervisor Mark Farrell's legislation allowing tenants the choice of internet/communication providers was signed in late December 2016 by Mayor Ed Lee, and is now in effect as of January 22, 2017.

Please take a moment to review this legislation with your team to ensure that you are in compliance with the new law. This measure was the effort of many in the business community but major changes that were beneficial to the tenant and, more importantly, the BOMA building owner, were due to the efforts of our immediate-past chair of the BOMA San Francisco Government Affairs Committee Chair, Manuel Fishman.

The law codifies a process that BOMA members have already been carrying out: allowing their small-business tenants to choose their internet provider that comply with physical constraints of the building and that tenant's lease. Thankfully, thanks to BOMA's efforts, that is still the case but your property management team may have to work closely with the tenant and communications provider to ensure that both the BOMA building owner and tenant's interests are respected.

Questions? Concerns? Please feel free to reach out to johnb@boma.com.

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Original Post - December 1, 2016

You may have read about a proposal from Supervisor Mark Farrell that would allow internet access from any communications service provider for any tenant that asks for it – in both commercial and residential buildings. Thanks to the quick work and expertise of Manuel Fishman and Marty Smith, your Government Affairs Committee Chair and Vice Chair, the measure - while not addressing all of the industry's issues - is still workable for BOMA San Francisco members.

Your feedback is requested no later than December 5, 2016. 

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will vote on the measure on December 6, 2016.


It has been moving quickly through the legislative process at San Francisco's City Hall and BOMA members thank our San Francisco business community partners for their input. We also thank Supervisor Farrell for allowing our members the opportunity to suggest practical changes to the legislation that allows the tenant to choose their internet/communications service provider AND protects the commercial property owners ability to feasibly accommodate the request.

In fact, our BOMA members already do this. The commercial real estate industry is a tenant driven business and the relationship between a building owner/manager and their tenants is paramount.

Commercial building owners understand that tenants should have the ability to ask for communications access and, like most agreements between a building owner and a tenant, they are considered unless the building owner’s property cannot safely and efficiently accommodate the request. In other words, one of the major considerations by the building owner is if the request is feasible based on the real-world constraints of the built environment.

Please send your comments to johnb@boma.com and kenc@boma.com.

Monday, January 30, 2017

UPDATE: Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project



UPDATE - January 29, 2017

Thanks to those BOMA members who attended to the first open house series - information below- for the Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project.

If you have not done so, please take this survey and let the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) know what transportation amenities matter most to you on Folsom and Howard streets.

Next steps for the project will be for SFMTA staff to technically analyze potential roadway configurations and compile public feedback received. Technical analysis of possible designs will enable the SFMTA to better understand the trade-offs of different design options. Combining the technical analysis with public feedback received will provide staff with several project alternatives to share with the public at the next project open house in Spring 2017.

In the meantime, staff will be working to implement parking-protected bike lanes on Folsom and Howard and design upgraded bike facilities on 11th Street and on Folsom Street between 11th and 13th streets.

Please also note that the Central SoMa Plan Draft EIR, which is the environmental approval document for the Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project, was released on December 14, 2017 and will have a 60-day public comment period

As always, updated information can be found at www.sfmta.com/folsomhoward and you can keep up to date by signing up for email updates.

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Original Post - December 12, 2016

You may be aware that BOMA San Francisco members in the South of Market area of San Francisco  have provided input on the possible changes as part of the Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project.

The Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project is an effort to prepare for continued growth in the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood.

The SFMTA feels that demand on SoMa’s streets is increasing and will only continue to rise. The City estimates a 212% increase in SoMa residents and a 140% increase in SoMa workers by the year 2040. As such, there is a need to prepare thoughtfully for the coming growth that will place more demand on the neighborhood’s transportation network.

This project will focus on updating and upgrading the Folsom-Howard couplet. It will prioritize traffic safety, community livability and enhancing the neighborhood’s existing character. The initiative will also improve transit access and examine traffic circulation modifications. It will include bicycle, transit, pedestrian, curbside management, and traffic improvements on Folsom and Howard streets while addressing safety needs and future transportation demand in the growing South of Market Neighborhood.

The SFMTA are in the early planning stages and will be hosting two open houses so that BOMA members and other stakeholders can provide their comments. These events are an opportunity for the public to learn about the project goals and possible improvements, as well as provide ideas and feedback on the future of Folsom and Howard streets.

Two open house events will accommodate those with scheduling conflicts. Both open houses will be similar, hosting the same materials, information and opportunity to provide feedback.

For more information, please feel free to email the project manager, Paul Stanis, at paul.stanis@sfmta.com.


Thursday, December 8, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

SoMa Recreation Center (Gene Friend Recreation Center)

270 6th St (between Howard and Folsom)



Saturday, December 10, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

SoMa Recreation Center (Gene Friend Recreation Center)

270 6th St (between Howard and Folsom)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) – Member Recruitment




APPLY FOR MEMBERSHIP ON THE TJPA CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

The Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) is soliciting applications from BOMA members and Bay Area residents interested in serving on the TJPA Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC). To ensure continuity in the TJPA CAC membership, each year approximately one half of the member’s terms will expire and the TJPA will consider applicants to fill those seats.

Applications are due by February 15, 2017, and are to be submitted to the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, 201 Mission Street, Suite 2100, San Francisco, CA 94105 or via e-mail to TJPACAC@transbaycenter.org.

The Application Form is available on the TJPA website at http://transbaycenter.org/tjpa/cac/about-the-cac.

San Francisco Business Tax Updates January 2017 - 2016 Annual Return Live!





2016 Annual Return LIVE!


 The 2016 Tax Year Annual Return is now live at http://sftreasurer.org/2016GRPY. We encourage BOMA members to access the Return and review it.

To enter the Online Return you will need:
  • Seven digit Business Account Number
  • Last four digits of your business tax identification number (Federal EIN or SSN)
  • Eight digit alphanumeric Online PIN (same as prior year)

The The Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector have send out filing notices recently that include the Business Account Number, Online PIN, and other information to assist taxpayers with filing their Return, including all quarterly installment payments received by their office. 


2016 Annual Return Videos Posted
In our ongoing efforts to make tax reporting accessible to all San Franciscans, we have produced videos on how to file an Annual Return under various circumstances. You may view them here. Please share with your networks, particularly if you work with small businesses that plan to complete their tax return themselves!


Proposed Ordinances


San Francisco's Treasurer has submitted proposed legislation to the Board of Supervisors. These items will be heard this month. The two items that most directly affect the gross receipts tax and payroll expense tax are:

File 161264, which proposes to modify the quarterly filing and payment requirements for payroll expense taxes and gross receipts taxes, clarify the requirements for requesting an extension, and expressly permit taxpayers to apply refunds of the business registration fee, the payroll expense tax, and the gross receipts tax to subsequent tax periods.

File 161225, which proposes to remove the $100 minimum penalty from one of the penalties for failing to register with the Tax Collector; and to remove the fee and administrative requirements for obtaining a duplicate registration certificate.

Both of these proposed ordinances were guided by feedback from the business community about simplifying quarterly installment payments, applying refunds to subsequent tax periods, and reducing penalties and fees on small businesses.


Small Business Enterprise Thresholds Increase

As previously announced, the San Francisco Tax Collector has announced increased small business enterprise thresholds for tax year 2016 and retroactively increased thresholds for 2015. Taxpayers affected by the 2015 retroactive increase have been contacted directly. You can find more information as well as the 2016 tax rates here.


Combined Groups of Related Entities – 2016 Annual Return Functionality Enhancements


If you or the taxpayer you are filing for is filing on behalf of a combined group of related entities, or was part of a combined group for a portion of the tax year, there us added online functionality so most combined groups do not have to file by mail and can more easily report group members.

Combined groups of related entities will need to report their group members in the annual return (rather than through Account Update), including the dates the entities were part of the group, and the extent they are unitary with the group. Tax preparers should have this information ready when filing to facilitate their filing process. For information about what constitutes a combined group of related entities, please see these instructions for the 2016 return here.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

UPDATE - San Francisco Commercial Water Conservation Ordinance Deadline for Compliance on January 1, 2017 - Affidavit Required



UPDATE - December 15, 2016

BOMA San Francisco Codes and Regulations Committee members heard from representatives with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) recently regarding this law. 

With the upcoming compliance deadline of January 1, 2017, the SFPUC has introduced the Plumbing Fixture Replacement Program (PREP) where they will provide free toilets and urinals for residences and businesses in San Francisco.

COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES MUST APPLY BY 12/31/16; APPLICATIONS RECEIVED AFTER 1/1/17 WILL NOT QUALIFY.

Interested?

You're encouraged to apply online now to determine if their property qualifies for this program. To get started, read the Eligibility Criteria below.

Looking for rebates? Apply to the SFPUC's high-efficiency toilet and urinal rebate programs ending 12/31/2016.

Eligibility Criteria

The PREP Program will offer free high-efficiency toilets and/or urinals, plus free installation. It will be available to residential and non-residential properties in the SFPUC's retail service area that meet the following eligibility requirements:
  • Have existing toilets that use at least 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf) (toilets rated 1.6 gpf or less are not eligible) and/or urinals that use more than 1.0 gallon per flush. 
  • Accommodate installation of new high-efficiency models without major plumbing alterations or repairs. Properties with abnormal site conditions (e.g. rotted flooring, atypical plumbing configurations, etc.) will not be eligible for the PREP Program until conditions are improved.
  • Install showerheads, faucets and/or faucet aerators that comply with the California Plumbing Code by the time PREP installations are complete.


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UPDATE - August 31, 2016

Please be aware that state and local measures require all building owners in San Francisco replace old, water-wasting plumbing fixtures and repair leaks. Commercial properties have until January 1, 2017 to comply

By that date, building owners must submit a Commercial Conservation Affidavit to the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (DBI), verifying that all fixtures currently installed at time of their self-inspection are water efficient and code-compliant. Commercial property owners must replace any existing fixtures that exceed the following maximum water use rates:
  • Showerheads must not exceed a maximum flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm)
  • Faucets and faucet aerators must not exceed a maximum flow rate of 2.2 gpm
  • Toilets must not exceed a maximum flow rate of 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf)
  • Urinals must not exceed a maximum flow rate of 1.0 gpf
For more information on how to comply with San Francisco’s Commercial Conservation Ordinance, visit www.sfwater.org/commercialconservation or www.sfdbi.org/commercialconservation or call DBI’s Plumbing Inspection Division at (415) 558-6058.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) continues to help properties save water through fixture rebates for the replacement of non-compliant toilets and urinals (program ends December 31, 2016); free water-efficient showerheads and aerators and standard toilet leak repair parts; free Water-Wise Evaluations; and other assistance. Visit www.sfwater.org/conservation or call (415) 551-4730 for more information about the SFPUC’s conservation services.

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Original Post - August 5, 2014

Working with BOMA San Francisco, the City of San Francisco enacted a Commercial Water Conservation Ordinance in 2009 that requires all commercial property owners to provide certain water conservation measures for their buildings by January 1, 2017. The intent of this law is protect natural resources, address increasing demand for water, and cut greenhouse gas emissions through reduced water use. The required improvements also will reduce water and sewer costs for commercial properties.

It is advantageous for all commercial property owners to comply with the requirements now. Even though the  statutory deadline is in 2017, the savings in water and sewer costs typically pay for themselves within one to three years.  The following information is a summary of the requirements found in Chapter 13A of the San Francisco Building Code (SFBC).

Who Must Comply?

On or before January 1, 2017, all owners of:
  • Commercial buildings;
  • Any portion of a residential building, which is used for commercial purposes;
  • Any portion of a residential building converted to a tourist hotel;
  • Any portion of a residential building which is occupied as a hotel or motel unit and which has a certificate of use for tourist occupancy;
  • Any building or portion thereof which is a live/work occupancy
  • Mobile homes.
Owner’s compliance is also required when one of the following situations occurs:
  • Building Additions
    • If a building addition will increase the floor area of the building by more than 10 percent, the entire building must comply as a condition for issuance of a Certificate of Final Completion and Occupancy.
  • Building Alterations and Improvements
    • If the cost estimated in a building permit for an alternation or improvement is greater than $150,000, compliance is required in all facilities that serve the specific area of alteration or improvement and is a condition for issuance of a Certificate of Final Completion and Occupancy or final permit sign off.
  • Alternations or Improvements to Rooms with Water Conservation Devices
    • If an alteration or improvement of any cost is located in a room that contains a faucet, shower, water closet (toilet), or urinal, compliance is required in that room as a condition for issuance of a Certificate of Final Completion and Occupancy or final permit sign off.
Please click here for more information about what the law requires.  If you have any questions, please call SFDBI's Plumbing Inspection Division at (415) 558-6570.

For more information on financing options, efficient toilet and urinal rebates, and free water-efficient device which can help achieve compliance with the water conservation ordinance, please contact the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission at (415) 551-4730 or click here.

Apture