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Long Beach Water approves 2.5 percent rate reduction to align with Measure M court ruling

MEDIA RELEASE

May 4, 2022

Contact:  Lauren Gold, Public Information Officer
Phone:     (562) 355-1201 
Email:     lauren.gold@lbwater.org

BOARD SET TO CONSIDER PENDING MEASURE M ITEMS MAY 12

LONG BEACH, CALIF. (MAY 4, 2022) — The Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners Wednesday voted to reduce water rates by 2.54 percent, taking another important step to comply with a recent court ruling nullifying the voter-approved Measure M.

The rate adjustment reflects that Long Beach Water is no longer collecting rate revenue for the purpose of a Measure M transfer to the city’s general fund. Pending final Long Beach City Council approval, the rates would go into effect on June 1, complying with the court-directed timeline.

Measure M, approved by the voters in 2018, facilitated the transfer of money from Long Beach Water’s budget to the city’s general fund. A lawsuit challenging the legality of the measure was resolved in March 2022 when the California Supreme Court declined to hear the final appeal filed by the city of Long Beach in the case.

With the Supreme Court action, a December 2021 appellate court ruling in favor of the plaintiff went into effect, nullifying Measure M and directing Long Beach Water to cease collecting these revenues from ratepayers.

“This was the right thing to do for our ratepayers, and it honors the court’s decision,” said Gloria Cordero, Board of Water Commissioners vice president. “I look forward to further discussions on the pending Measure M matters, as well as our future department budget, in the coming weeks.”

In line with the court decision, the city of Long Beach also must return $30.8 million collected under Measure M back to Long Beach Water.

In March, the Board voted to return the initial city payment of $9 million to ratepayers in the form of a $100 one-time bill credit. At its first budget workshop on May 12, the Board is set to discuss the remaining $21.8 million, which is scheduled to be returned to Long Beach Water by September.

“Long Beach Water is committed to doing all we can to align with the court’s direction. Reducing water rates was a key step in this process; we’re no longer collecting money from ratepayers to transfer to the city’s general fund,” Long Beach Water General Manager Chris Garner said. “We will continue to take all necessary steps related to the Measure M ruling.”

The May 12 budget workshop is open to the public for in person and virtual participation. Residents can share comments in person, over the phone or by email to watercommission@lbwater.org.

Subsequent budget workshops are set to be held on May 26, June 9 and June 23.

For more information on Long Beach Water, visit LBWater.org.

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As a recognized leader in water conservation and innovation, the Long Beach Water Department contributes to creating a sustainable community, develops collaborative partnerships, and fosters a quality workforce. To learn more visit lbwater.org. Follow us on social media on Facebook and Instagram @lbwater and on Twitter @LongBeachWater.

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