“A coalition of Los Angeles employee unions is challenging key provisions of a labor agreement struck by political leaders and employees at the city’s giant water and power utility, potentially jeopardizing hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for ratepayers over the next four years.”
“A rumor made the rounds this past week that Fresno County Supervisor Debbie Poochigian was bankrolling Doug Vagim’s battle to put the city of Fresno’s recent water-rate hikes to a vote. …
“Vagim and the city have been battling in Fresno County Superior Court, and earlier this week Judge M. Bruce Smith said the city must have the summary for an initiative on repealing the water-rate hikes completed by 4 p.m. on Dec.
“A new study from the Pacific Institute explores stable and sustainable sources of funding for water projects as a key to long-term solutions, and finds California’s increased dependence on general obligation (GO) bonds in funding water systems is unreliable and costly to both the state and taxpayers.
“Current water rates often do not fully cover the cost of providing water services and rarely reflect the full costs of the water itself, such as the ecosystem impacts related to extracting water.
“Property owners and water customers throughout the Nevada Irrigation District will soon receive letters advising them that NID is considering a five-year financial plan that includes water rate increases.”
“We’re not suggesting everyone kiss and make up, but we are hoping that all sides can move on past whatever bad feelings boiled up over California Water Service rate increase proposals.
“The last machination of the advisory boards dramatically slashed Cal Water’s initial rate increase proposal and it appears the private utility company is fine with that and ready to get on with life.”
“The Visalia City Council announced this week that it reluctantly signed a settlement to accept a rate increase from California Water Service, the water utility that serves most homes and business in the city. Selma, which also relies on Cal Water, reached a similar settlement.”
“The Marysville City Council broke off talks on Tuesday night with a local tax and financial planning company over management of the city’s sewer bills. The city had negotiated for two months with Nickell Tax & Financial Planning to take over sewer billing from California Water Service.”
“California Water Service’s proposed water rate increase for Marysville customers has dropped from 34.8 percent to 10.16 percent for 2014, according to a settlement agreement filed late Wednesday afternoon.
“The decline was a result of a detailed review of Cal Water operating expenses during settlement discussions with the state Division of Ratepayer Advocates, Cal Water spokesman Justin Skarb said.”
“A California court of appeal recently held that a groundwater management agency’s groundwater augmentation charges are water service fees. Consequently, any new or increase to the agency’s existing groundwater augmentation charges are exempt from the voter approval requirements of Proposition 218 (California Constitution article XIII D, section 6). The court in Griffith v.
From the Water in the West Western Water Forum blog in a post by Executive Director Andrew Fahlund:
“In September 2013 the Orange County Superior Court in California handed down an unpublished decision (Capistrano Taxpayers Association v. City of San Juan Capistrano (2013)) that could have public water agencies throwing up their hands in frustration.
“Yuba County supervisors have delayed taking a position on California Water Service’s request to increase water rates in Marysville by nearly 35 percent in 2014.
“Supervisors on Tuesday night tabled until a future meeting the consideration of a resolution that ‘expresses their concern’ about the proposed increase currently before the state Public Utilities Commission.”