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Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners to Adopt Fiscal Year 2021 Budget and Rates on June 18, 2020

Media Release

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

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

Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners to Adopt Fiscal Year 2021 Budget and Rates on June 18, 2020
Board to consider no increase to sewer rates and a 6 percent adjustment in water rates effective October 1, 2020

Long Beach, California –  The Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners will consider the adoption of budget and rates for Fiscal Year 2021 at its meeting on Thursday, June 18, 2020. At this meeting, the Board will consider and discuss the possible approval of a 6 percent adjustment in water rates (an increase of $3.06 on a typical single family household monthly bill) contingent upon a subsequent public hearing and City Council adoption. There will be no increase in sewer rates.

“The Board of Water Commissioners values transparency, accountability and financial prudence when establishing the Water Department’s annual budget and rates,” said Harry Saltzgaver, president of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners. “In next fiscal year’s budget we will be prioritizing 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 we can reduce our reliance on more expensive, imported water sources.”

“We understand that COVID-19 has hit our community members in unprecedented ways,” said Chris Garner, general manager of the Long Beach Water Department. “The Water Department has taken significant action to reduce costs by more than $9.6 million so as to mitigate the increase in water rates.”

Some of those reductions include:

  • Deferrals in the Capital Improvement Program ($5.3 million) and vehicle replacement ($1.5 million)
  • Discretionary reductions in various contractor costs, in staff and Board travel costs, memberships in trade organizations, community sponsorships and advertising, totaling over $827k in cost reductions.
  • Reductions in overall payments to the City

With an average water bill of $54 per month, Long Beach water rates remain lower than most other large California cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland.

The Board will have held a total of three public workshops (May 21, May 28 and June 18) to discuss setting budget and rates for Fiscal Year 21. The presentations and audio files from the workshops can be found here.

More information about the June 18, 2020 Board meeting can be found at the City’s Legistar site.

Pursuant to State law, the Long Beach Water Department will hold a public hearing on August 27, 2020 to consider public protest of proposed increases to the City’s water rates. 45 days in advance of the public hearing, a Proposition 218 notice will be mailed to all water account owners with more details about the hearing, the proposed rate increase, and the proper procedure for filing a protest on the proposed rate changes, if they choose.

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