Measure M FAQ

What is Measure M and what happened with the lawsuit?

Measure M was approved by Long Beach voters in 2018 and facilitated the annual transfer of money from the Long Beach Water Department to the city’s general fund.

A lawsuit challenging the legality of the measure was filed in 2018 and resolved in March 2022 when the California Supreme Court denied a petition for review requested by the city of Long Beach.

With the Supreme Court action, a December 2021 appellate court ruling in favor of the plaintiff went into effect, nullifying Measure M and directing:

  1. The city of Long Beach to return $9 million to the Long Beach Water Department within 30 days.
  2. The Long Beach Water Department to cease collecting Measure M revenues from ratepayers.
  3. The city of Long Beach to return $21.8 million to the Long Beach Water Department within 120 days.

What actions has the Board of Water Commissioners taken to resolve the court’s ruling on the Measure M lawsuit?

The Board of Water Commissioners has taken every action to meet the court’s ruling.

  1. On March 31, the Board of Water Commissioners voted to return the full initial city payment of $9 million to ratepayers in the form of a $100 one-time bill credit.
  2. On May 4, the Board voted to reduce water rates by 2.54 percent to reflect no longer collecting rate revenue for the purpose of a Measure M transfer to the city’s general fund. That rate change was approved by the Long Beach City Council on May 10.
  3. On May 12, the Board voted to return the second city payment of $21.8 million, minus about $800,000 in attorney fees, to the ratepayers with a second one-time bill credit.
  4. Future Long Beach Water Department budgets and rates will not include revenues from Measure M.

How will I get my share of the $30.8 million in funds being returned to ratepayers?

Current water customers will receive two one-time bill credits, which will show up as “water fund credit” on their utility bill.

The first credit will be $100.

The second credit amount will be based on the size of each customer’s water meter. This means that the credit is proportional to a customer’s water use and the amount they pay on their monthly bill.

The credit is expected to be about $160 for the average residential customer and from $2,500 to $10,000 for larger commercial customers.

When will I see the credit on my bill?

The initial credit will begin to roll out on bills beginning May 15.

The second credit should begin to roll out by July 1.

How will the bill credits be applied?

The credit will be automatically applied to each current active water meter account.

If a customer’s monthly bill is less than the credit amount, the remaining balance will carry over into the next month or months until fully exhausted.

I moved out of Long Beach, can I still get the credit?

Credits will be given only to customers with an active water meter account.

A future credit to all active accounts is the most efficient and effective way to get ratepayer revenue back into the hands of customers to comply with the Measure M lawsuit.

What will happen with the water rate decrease approved by the Board?

The Board-approved rate decrease of 2.54 percent will take effect on June 1. The percentage represents that Long Beach Water has ceased collecting Measure M revenue as of the court’s deadline.

Will rates go up now that the Water Department no longer has the Measure M money?

The Board of Water Commissioners discusses proposed budget and rates every spring, covering the 12 months from October through September.

Discussions about the Fiscal Year 2023 budget costs and rates are ongoing.

If you’d like to learn more or share your thoughts, please attend a public budget workshop on May 26, June 9 or June 23, or send comments to watercommission@lbwater.org.

Where can I get more information?

If you have billing questions or concerns, please contact our call center at (562) 570-5700.

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