Cities, WRD Settle Proposition 218 Litigation Joint Statement
07 May, 2015, 11:18 ET
CERRITOS, Calif., DOWNEY, Calif., SIGNAL HILL, Calif., and LAKEWOOD, Calif., May 7, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- We are pleased to announce that litigation filed by the cities of Cerritos, Downey and Signal Hill (the Cities) alleging that the Water Replenishment District (WRD) had adopted replenishment assessments (RAs) in violation of Proposition 218 has been settled.
The Cities and WRD acknowledge that the litigation has been extremely expensive and agree that their intent in settling the litigation and entering into the settlement agreement is to foster a new attitude of cooperation and enhanced communications. Cooperation and collaboration rather than conflict serve the common purpose we have to devote time, attention and resources to assuring healthy and robust groundwater basins in a time of historic drought.
Pursuant to the agreement, the Cities and WRD have entered into a global, good faith settlement to fully and finally resolve all litigation and the RAs WRD has adopted since the litigation was filed nearly five years ago.
Specifically, the settlement resolves all litigation regarding the validity of RAs adopted by WRD from 2006-07 fiscal year to 2012-13 fiscal year and ensures litigation will not be filed related to the assessments WRD has adopted since then. Additionally, the Cities will not file any litigation against WRD in any way related to the validity of the RA or any project funded by the RA for the three--‑fiscal--‑year period ending June 30, 2018.
All of the parties recognize the importance of groundwater to our region. The groundwater basins in the WRD service area provide forty percent of the water supply for four million people residing across 43 cities. The settlement also provides a peace term of seven years for WRD's Groundwater Reliability Improvement Program (GRIP). The completion of the GRIP advanced water treatment facility is a significant effort and the final component necessary to drought-proof our groundwater basins by eliminating our demand for water imported from Northern California and the Colorado River.
The settlement provides that WRD will pay the Cities' attorneys' fees and related expenses. WRD also will fund $5,000,000 in basin improvement projects of the Cities within seven years and may meet that obligation through any combination of state and federal grants or its own funding sources. Under the agreement, all City projects will provide regional benefits, reduce reliance on imported sources of water, or enhance water security in the basin.
Under the agreement, WRD will continue to implement Proposition 218-like procedures for the adoption of future RAs, consistent with the procedures WRD has followed since the adoption of the 2013/14 RA. Those procedures include notice of the annual RA to all active pumpers and the opportunity for a protest of the RA. If a majority of active pumpers protests the RA, the Cities will not object to the adoption of the prior year's RA, adjusted for inflation.
In the next few weeks, the Cities and WRD will seek dismissal by the court of all pending actions against one another.
SOURCE Water Replenishment District of Southern California
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