“A California court of appeal recently held that a public agency is not required to provide individual protest procedures for each customer class when proposing increases to its water service fees. The court based its decision in Morgan v. Imperial Irrigation District on Proposition 218 (California Constitution article XIII D, section 6) and the Proposition 218 Omnibus Implementation Act (Government Code section 53750 et seq.).
“The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power resumed sending out automatic notices to customers who are short on their bills this week, months after halting the practice amid alarm over erroneous charges.
“The effort is meant to help mop up a revenue shortfall of more than $300 million.”
“The historic drought is making average residents think twice every time they turn on the tap, despite the weekend rain. But there is nothing average about the way Californians consume water: A little-known state database that measures water use in every community shows huge — sometimes shocking — differences between California’s water sippers and guzzlers.”
“Kelly Salt, a Best Best & Krieger partner based in San Diego, authored a guide specifically geared toward helping special districts in California navigate the requirements of Proposition 218. Published by the California Special Districts Association, the guide is designed to help special districts interpret and comply with the requirements of Prop. 218 when imposing any new, or increasing any existing, assessment or property-related fee or charge.”
“The board voted 7-0 Tuesday to join the growing number of Bay Area water districts seeking voluntary cuts during a third consecutive dry rain season. Storms of the past few days have produced more water but still left the district worried of the potential for below average runoff into its Mokelumne River water supplies piped in from the Central Sierra foothills.”
“The Coachella Valley’s water agencies have been awarded a state grant of more than $5.2 million for five water projects that include expanding sewer systems and connecting more golf courses to supplies of recycled water and Colorado River water.”
“The Ross Valley Sanitary District’s sorry travails with its now-jailed former general manager should serve as a reminder to directors of local public boards that they are elected to pay attention to how taxpayer money is being spent.”
“A Los Angeles-area lawmaker is pressing for a state audit to determine how a new billing system beset with errors was rolled out at the city Department of Water and Power, a week after the agency acknowledged a $200-million shortfall in collections.”
“Los Angeles Department of Water and Power union leader Brian D’Arcy’s effort to ‘clear the air’ and explain what happened to more than $40 million in ratepayer money paid to two nonprofits has failed to convince city leaders calling for full accounting of the groups’ expenditures.”
“The overture by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 chief Brian D’Arcy to ‘clear the air’ in the ongoing dispute over two trusts funded by the Department of Water and Power drew criticism on Thursday for not offering anything new to city officials about how money was spent.”
“The Sebastopol City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to join the City of Cotati in opposing fluoridation of Sonoma County’s drinking water, even if its own water supply would not be directly affected.”
“Over the past 10 years, Sonoma County Water Agency deliveries declined about 20 percent, from 66,500 acre-feet to 54,200 acre-feet, while wholesale and retail water rates have continued climbing to meet the fixed costs of maintaining and operating the water-supply network.
“So we were pleased to hear Water Agency officials pledging on Monday to tap reserves to avoid charging people more for using even less during the current drought.”