Taxpayer Group Threatens Yorba Linda Water District over Rate Hike

A month ago, the Yorba Linda Taxpayers Association struck out at a Yorba Linda Water District Board of Directors meeting, where the YLTA had gone seeking either the end of a $25 monthly water rate hike or a ballot initiative to put the increase before voters.

On Monday, the taxpayer group again asked the water district for the same thing—or else, the YLTA now claims, the venue for the dispute will shift to a court of law.

Having retained Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, a Sacramento law firm that specializes in government and elections, the YLTA sent the district a six-page letter, signed by BAH attorney Brian Hildreth, that alleges the water board infringed on the group's rights under the California Constitution by failing to act on the demands. 

The letter, like the YLTA  presentation at the Nov. 4 board meeting, directs the district board to rescind the water rate hike that was approved in September and went into effect Oct. 1 or to call an election. 

Sent Monday, the letter gave the district 72 hours to respond.

At that November meeting, the board held firm in maintaining the hike despite facing about 300 people in the board room, some holding signs that read, “Do the right thing. Rescind the rates!”

The district, which serves most of Yorba Linda and parts of Brea and Placentia, claims the rate increase is necessary due to state-mandated water conservation. Governor Jerry Brown on April 1 signed an executive order calling for a 25 percent reduction in California water consumption.

Though the YLTA collected more than 5,500 signatures in an effort to overturn the increase—and the county Registrar of Voters certified those petitions—the district staff told its board the referendum process is not allowed by the law that applies to the water rate resolution.

So just ignore 'em. Essentially.

It's looking more and more like it will be up to a court to determine if the staff made the right call.


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