San Diego loses financing fight with MWD

The Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors Tuesday dismissed pleas from powerful interests in the San Diego region to roll back increases in water rates, hold the line on property taxes and issue refunds to customers.

The San Diego County Water Authority argued that Metropolitan should:

• Reduce a planned 5 percent water rate increase in 2014 to 3 percent and send $75 million of its “excessive reserves” back to customers. Of that, $16.38 million would go the San Diego water authority, Metropolitan’s largest buyer.

• Continue past policy of gradually reducing its property tax rate. Metropolitan instead suspended the planned rate reduction, which will cost property owners about a dime per $100,000 in assessed valuation. Keeping the tax rate stable will save Metropolitan about $4.4 million and cost property owners in the San Diego region about $800,000.

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