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Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners Adopts Fiscal Year 2021 Budget and Rates

Media Release

Thursday, June 18, 2020

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

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

Long Beach, California – Today, the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners approved the adoption of the Water Department budget and rates for Fiscal Year 2021 including 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 in September. There will be no increase in sewer rates.

“Today, the Board of Water Commissioners adopted a fiscally sound and prudent budget that reflects hard work, inventive thinking and smart infrastructure investments,” said Harry Saltzgaver, president of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners. “Next year’s budget prioritizes projects that reduce the department’s reliance on costly imported water sources, maximizing access to less expensive local groundwater and increasing local storage capacity.”

“Next year’s budget was prepared under unusual circumstances,” said Chris Garner, general manager of the Long Beach Water Department. “We’ve gone through every component of the budget, line-by-line, looking for creative strategies to reduce costs for our customers. The approved budget includes nearly $10 million in cost reductions and deferrals for FY 21.”

With a typical residential water/sewer bill of $64 per month, Long Beach residential water and sewer rates remain significantly lower than most other large California cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland. Additionally, the Long Beach sewer charges for a typical residential customer are lower today than they were 10 years ago. The water rate increase approved today accurately reflects Long Beach Water’s costs, while allowing the department to continue to perform core water functions necessary to ensure high quality and affordable drinking water.

The Long Beach Water Department is committed to providing highly-valued water and sewer services to its customers, and is committed to the community’s health and quality of life. While we continue to be in the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure that customers can take necessary precautions to protect themselves and wash their hands, the department has temporarily suspended customer water shutoffs due to nonpayment.

The Board held three public workshops (May 21, May 28, and June 18) prior to voting in order to discuss budget and rates with customers. 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. Subsequently, the budget and rates will go to City Council for adoption.

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