Friday, April 01, 2022
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Long Beach Water to issue $9 million in bill credits following Measure M ruling
LONG BEACH, CALIF. (APRIL 1, 2022) — Long Beach residents and businesses will soon receive a credit on their Long Beach utility bill after the Board of Water Commissioners Thursday voted to return $9 million in city Measure M funds back to ratepayers.
The Board unanimously approved the bill credit, which will be about $100 per customer. Long Beach Water is set to begin rolling out the credits to customer bills in the coming weeks, once the funds have been received and processed.
“This $9 million came from Long Beach Water customers, so we felt returning it to them was the right thing to do,” said Board of Water Commissioners President Robert Shannon. “We look forward to upcoming discussions of how to best use the remaining funds to benefit those customers and invite public input before we make any final decisions.”
The move comes as the result last week’s resolution of a lawsuit regarding Measure M, a voter approved measure that facilitated the transfer of money from Long Beach Water’s budget to the city of Long Beach’s general fund.
The court ruled that the city must return approximately $30 million in funds collected under Measure M back to the Water Department, with an initial $9 million due within 30 days. Additionally, money collected from ratepayers will no longer be transferred to the city’s general fund as had been occurring through Measure M.
Thursday’s board decision centered on the initial repayment of $9 million by the city to Long Beach Water that is expected this month. The Board is set to discuss the remaining $21.8 million in funds from the city within the context of preparing the Fiscal Year 2023 budget and rates at upcoming public budget workshops.
Budget workshops are set to begin on May 12 and continue for several public meetings thereafter.
The court’s ruling does not explicitly dictate how the Water Department must use the funds.
“Our priority is providing reliable, safe water to Long Beach residents and businesses in an efficient and conscious manner,” said Long Beach Water Department General Manager Chris Garner. “We respect the court’s decision and, beginning in May, we will be providing financial projections to our board and to the public to assist the Board in its important upcoming budget deliberations.”
The resolution of the Measure M lawsuit came after the California Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal on March 23, allowing a lower court ruling in favor of the lawsuit plaintiff to stand.
The May 12 budget workshop will begin at 9 a.m. at the Long Beach Water Department Administration Building, 1800 E. Wardlow Road, and is open to the public. Comments can be submitted in person or via email to email@example.com.
For more information on Long Beach Water, visit LBWater.org.