After months of agonizing meetings, technical reports, missed dinners with my families, after researching the issue at great length, after so much hard work, the City Attorney recommended last night that the City Council pull the water rate hike from the agenda after receiving several communications that call into question the legality of the franchise tax and the manner in which the Prop 218 notification was conducted.
So for now there is NO rate increase!
One small but important detail I noticed was that the Agenda did NOT have the Water Rate Ad Hoc Commission's recommendations. What was on the Agenda was some staff verbiage which lacked substantial information which the Ad Hoc had made very clear needed to be communicated to the Council.
The Water Rate Ad Hoc made 3 distinct recommendations:
1) That the Council adopt Rate Alternative "B" as it was described in the Ad Hoc briefing of June 30, 2011;
2) That all new revenue from Alternative "B" be exempt from the franchise tax;
3) That the water bill be revised to address the general lack of transparency and add more detail as to where rate payers' funds go.
These were completely missing from the Agenda making ALL of the Water Rate Ad Hoc Commission's work pointless and wasted thousands of tax dollars with staff time.