Water Authority LetterRequest for adequate time to review and distribute information on the California WaterFix
Two San Diego County Supervisors have issued an alert to their colleagues in five other Southern California counties warning that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has overcharged residents by hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Although MWD is a public agency, little attention has been paid to its flawed business practices and uncontrolled spending that have contributed to significant water rate increases in recent years,” said Dianne Jacob, chairwoman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, and Kristin Gaspar, vice chairwoman of the board. “Water bills will continue to be higher than necessary in our communities until MWD’s out-of-control spending can be stopped.”
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Water Authority LetterSupport project subject to availability of funds in existing budget, and with reservation of cost of service rights
Water Authority LetterComments and suggestions on MWD's Proposed Legislative Priorities for 2017 and 2018
The Metropolitan Water District has been sued over the multi million-dollar purchase of five islands in the Sacramento River Delta.
Two Northern California counties, two water districts and two environmental groups filed suit on Thursday. Brenna Norton with Food and Water Watch, one of plaintiffs, says:
“This is really they effort to push through a much bigger water project that has been approved by the state. In attempting to push through a 67-billion dollar Delta tunnel project that could cost Southern California taxpayers and ratepayers billions of dollars including future liabilities.”
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Water Authority LetterOpposition to Suspending the Tax Rate Limitations
Water Authority LetterSouthern California Mayors
The Issues: Rate Increases. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is on pace to have its maximum reserves exceed its board-adopted maximum by $319 million (or 66% more than maximum level) in fiscal year 2014. Tax Hikes. Last June MWD’s board halted a scheduled property tax decrease, saying it needed more money in order to maintain its “fiscal integrity.” The result: An additional $4.4 million in taxes from property owners to MWD over and above water rates.
January 2012: MWD’s staff told the board it needed 5% rate increases in 2013 and 2014 to maintain critical water delivery infrastructure and avoid layoffs. They said an alternative proposal of 3% rate increases in those years would threaten water supply reliability.
July 2012: Just three months after adopting the budget and 5% rates increases for 2013 and 2014, MWD ended FY 2011/12 with revenues of $97 million over budget.
June 2013: MWD projects it will over-collect $217 million in excess revenues, resulting in reserves exceeding its maximum limit by $75 million. The MWD board also voted to suspend the tax rate limitations in Section 124.5 of the MWD Act, resulting in an additional $4.4 million in unbudgeted revenues from higher-than-scheduled property taxes. Staff claimed the action was necessary to maintain MWD’s “fiscal integrity”.
Despite efforts by ratepayers, business groups, community leaders, mayors and several Southern California water agencies asking to reduce the planned rate increase and allow the scheduled property tax decrease, the MWD board voted to raise taxes and spend $75 million on unbudgeted costs and programs; it chose to do nothing with its 5% rate increase scheduled to take effect in 2014. Leaving the 5% rate increase would generate MWD about $15 million, staff reported.
January 2014: Having already diverted $75M on unbudgeted uses, MWD still began FY 2014 with more than $62 million over its maximum reserve level, in violation of its own Administrative Code. MWD could have easily avoided the 5% rate increase in 2014 by using a quarter of the $62 million for that purpose. Staff now reports MWD is on track to add another $270 million to its reserves this fiscal year, thus exceeding the maximum level by $319 million.
Water Authority LetterApplicability of MWD’s Administrative Code
MWD's LetterResponse: Applicability of MWD’s Administrative Code
Each year, Burbank releases more than 2 billion gallons of unused recycled water into the Los Angeles River, but a plan to divert some of that for use elsewhere could save the city thousands of dollars on the cost of importing potable water.
Under the proposed deal, the Burbank Water Reclamation Plant would redirect 110 million gallons of recycled water to North Hollywood each year, earning the utility credits that would be applied to the cost of importing potable water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Those credits would effectively save the city about $180,000 annually.
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