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Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners Adopt Fiscal Year 2022 Budget and Rates

Media Release

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Contact  Kaylee Weatherly
phone     (562) 714-8250
email      kaylee.weatherly@lbwater.org

Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners Adopt Fiscal Year 2022 Budget and Rates
Board approved 8 percent adjustment in water rates and 10 percent adjustment in sewer rates effective October 1, 2021 

Long Beach, California – The Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners adopted the Water Department budget and rates for Fiscal Year 2022 at its meeting on Thursday, June 24, 2021. At this meeting, the Board considered and discussed the approval of an 8 percent adjustment in water rates and a 10 percent adjustment in sewer rates (an increase of $5.39 on a typical single family household monthly bill) contingent upon a subsequent public hearing and City Council adoption.

“The Board of Water Commissioners value transparency, accountability and financial prudence when establishing the Water Department’s annual budget and rates, especially after such a difficult year.” said Frank Martinez, president of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners. “In next fiscal year’s budget, we will be prioritizing investments in our local groundwater sources that are more affordable and accessible than imported water supplies.”

“We understand that COVID-19 has impacted our ratepayers in many ways, including financially, and so we continually look to reduce operating costs wherever possible,” said Chris Garner, general manager of the Long Beach Water Department. “Our proposed rate adjustments are set at a level that allow us to both maintain reasonable monthly water and sewer bills for our customers and make needed long-term investments to keep your water supply safe and reliable all while providing high-quality customer service for the years ahead.”

Revenue generated from customer water and sewer bills is used to pay for the ongoing operation, maintenance, repair and replacement of the existing water and sewer systems. Long Beach Water’s public budget and rates workshops in May and June 2021 identified prioritization of investments in groundwater sources with new and refurbished wells and replacing aging infrastructure that includes more than 1,800 miles of pipeline and storage tanks, so as to reduce reliance on more expensive, imported water sources. Investments in the water system increases long-term access to more affordable water supply sources. In addition, continued investment to rehabilitate, repair, and replace critical sewer infrastructure is necessary to protect public health and the environmental health of our community.
The water and sewer rate increases represent a multi-year, capital improvement investment in the Water Department proactively planning for current and future water supply sources as impacts due to climate change continue to make imported water supplies more vulnerable. “Long Beach Water is dedicated to developing an adaptive management strategy to ensure Long Beach will always have a reliable supply of water,” said Dean Wang, manager of water resources. “We are prioritizing investments into our most feasible and cost-effective water supply projects to increase our water self-reliance and resilience to future droughts, including infrastructure to sustainably maximize the use of local groundwater and recycled water sources.”

With an average water and sewer bill of just under $70 per month, Long Beach’s water and sewer rates remain lower than most other large California cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland.

The Board held a total of three public workshops (May 13, May 20 and June 10) to discuss setting budget and rates for Fiscal Year 2022. The presentations and audio files from the workshops can be found here.

Pursuant to State law, the Long Beach Water Department will hold a public hearing on August 26, 2021 to consider public protest of the proposed increases to the water and sewer rates. A Proposition 218 notice will be mailed to all water and sewer account owners with more details about the hearing 45 days in advance of the public hearing that includes information about the proposed rate increases and the proper procedure for filing a protest on the proposed rate changes, if they choose.

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