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The City of Downey is pleased with the passing of new legislation, SB 620, which serves to provide cities and private water providers with greater input on the fiscal decisions made by the Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD).
SB 620, passed and sent to Governor Jerry Brown for signature on September 12, 2013, will require the election of a Budget Advisory Committee, which will serve to monitor and weigh-in on the WRD’s budget and any proposed Replenishment Assessment. Authored by State Senator Roderick Wright, the bill will require the new advisory committee to consist of seven members from cities, agencies, and private water providers who pump groundwater in the southern portion of Los Angeles County.
“This new legislation imposes fiscal responsibility and accountability on the WRD. It promotes transparency and serves as an auditing tool to make sure WRD is operating efficiently and effectively. Our responsibility as public officials is to represent our citizens and look out for their best interests,” said Mayor Mario Guerra.
Court decisions have found that the WRD has been arbitrarily increasing replenishment assessments without following the procedural requirements of Proposition 218, which mandates a protest system to protect ratepayers.
“This is an important step, because it adds additional accountability,” said John Oskoui, Assistant City Manager and Director of Public Works at the City of Downey. “WRD’s replenishment assessments can amount to a third to half of the average consumer’s water bill. The City of Downey is very pleased that cities and companies that provide the water to our residents and businesses have a seat at the table to stop unnecessary WRD spending and inflated assessments.
Published: Sept. 26, 2013 – Volume 12 – Issue 24