Judge Denies YLTA Writ of Mandate on Water Rate Referendum

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The following is a press release from an organization unaffiliated with Voice of OC. The views expressed here are not those of Voice of OC.

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Judge Denies YLTA’s Writ of Mandate on Water Rate Referendum

Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert J. Moss believes the Yorba Linda Water District’s excessive rate increase was passed as an emergency measure and has denied YLTA’s Writ of Mandate on the Water Rate Referendum.

YLTA humbly disagrees, since the District had been planning a rate increase prior to the State’s issuance of drought restrictions in April of 2015 and the District’s has made record net profits to the tune of over $10 million in FY2015-16. We have always believed the District used the drought as a public relations tool to sell their rate increase and that only a $5 to $8 monthly meter fee increase was necessary to cover lost revenues due to the drought.

“I think the judge missed the argument regarding our right of referendum in this case and I am outraged at his decision. The District’s rate increase was never legally positioned as an urgency measure. Thank goodness for the recall,” said Writ Petitioner and YLTA member Kent Ebinger.

Here’s a portion of Judge Moss’s decision:

“Here the District argues that Resolution 15-22 was both a tax levy and an urgency measure enacted to respond to the record drought conditions currently existing in California, and thus is not subject to the referendum process. While the court does not agree with respondent that raising of water rates is the equivalent of a tax levy, it is persuaded that Resolution 15-22 was passed as an urgency measure enacted to avoid severe constraints on the District’s ability to meet its fixed financial obligations during the current severe drought. This finding, coupled with the finding that the essential governmental function of providing safe, clean, potable water might be impaired if the referendum is allowed to proceed, compel the court to deny the petition.”

Read the entire Minute Order at this link: https://app.box.com/s/3u59vyo43g1j4uaw1kmq0691ee8xfv2t

YLTA share’s in the disappointment over this decision with YLWD ratepayers and we are currently looking at all of our options. Thankfully, the recalls of Directors Gary Melton and Robert Kiley have qualified, allowing voters to change four seats on the Board in November.

For more information contact: Ed Rakochy
edrakochy@me.com
714.381.2395

5961 Sandra Dr., Yorba Linda, CA 92886 • ylta4yl.org • info@ylta4yl.org

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