Paging Capistrano Taxpayers Association: Yorba Linda Taxpayers Assn. Prepares for Water War

Money down the drain
Money down the drain
Photo by Andre Casasola/Orange County Water District

You have to wonder if the Yorba Linda Taxpayers Association is emboldened by their counterparts in San Juan Capistrano, where a tiered water rate system was declared unconstitutional after a legal challenge by the Capistrano Taxpayers Association.

San Juan Capistrano Explores Options After Tiered Water Rates Ruled Unconstitutional

For now, the Yorba Linda group is only hosting a community meeting "to help stop" an "outrageous water district rate increase," Ed Rakochy of the Yorba Linda Taxpayers Association tells the Weekly.

"Yorba Linda Water District customers are outraged," Rakochy says. "The district is proposing to raise rates after customers reduced water consumption in June by 38 percent, exceeding the state's 36 percent mandate.

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"The 3/4-inch meter fee could increase 161 percent from $10.06 per month to $26.29 and the 1-inch meter fee could increase 148 percent from $16.77 per month to $41.57. The proposal calls for future increases of up to over 11 percent for each of the following four years. Current penalties would still apply and costs are not expected to decrease in the future."

Many Yorba Linda customers woke up to that future after looking at their June bills, which imposed penalties and shortened billing periods from 36 days to 28 days, Rakochy says.

"Customers want to know why they were fined when they reduced consumption and they want to know what the district is doing with the fines collected, especially since YLWD met the reduction mandate and was not fined by the state," he adds.

The water district says it has scheduled a public hearing to consider a proposed increase in water and sewer rates at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17 at the District Administrative Headquarters, 1717 E. Miraloma Ave., Placentia. If approved, the increases would go into effect Oct. 1.

Rakochy finds the timing curious.

"The water district mailers and website are claiming there is 'no place to cut.' Yet, on May 11, the YLWD Board of Directors voted to increase employee salaries this and the next two fiscal years. This approval occurred right before the state mandated water reduction went in to effect and with the board's full knowledge they would lose revenues due to that reduction."

He fears, "The board has not done its due diligence, nor made any attempts to cut expenses," pointing to a planned 2015 budget that has increased almost $1 million from the 2014 budget.

The Yorba Linda Taxpayers Association meeting is at the Hurless Barton Park Amphitheater, 4601 Casa Loma Ave. (or just south of the Yorba Linda Community Center parking lot) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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