Sunday, January 25, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

City, plaintiffs settle suit over water rates

HarringtonW

Michael Harrington, right, and Rodney Robinson, left, listen to an announcement Tuesday evening at the Davis City Council meeting of a settlement between water rates opponents, represented by Harrington, and the city of Davis. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | August 27, 2014 |

Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the city’s water and sewer rates reached a $195,000 settlement with the city Tuesday night. The announcement came after a unanimous, closed-session vote to approve the deal, Mayor Dan Wolk said.

Signing the settlement were Wolk for the city and Michael Harrington, a former City Council member and the lead attorney in the case. Harrington represented former Davis school board member John Munn and the group Yolo Ratepayers Association for Affordable Public Utilities.

According to a joint statement, along with the money paid to Harrington and the plaintiffs for legal expenses, the city agreed to:

* Going forward and looking back to August 2010, pay all water and sewer charges for its facilities at standard rates, with a few exceptions for utility enterprises and fair market leases;

* Continue providing water education and conservation programs; and

* Allocate $5,000 of non-enterprise funds in addition to the amount currently budgeted to be used for programs to assist low-income customers with water rates.

The plaintiffs not only agreed to drop their lawsuit, they also agreed they will not oppose the news water rates described in Prop. 218 notices sent this summer to residents. Those rates will be the subject of a City Council hearing on Sept. 16.

Plus, the plaintiffs agreed not to file any lawsuits over water rates, sewer rates or the spring 2013 Measure I vote to approve the Woodland-Davis surface water project, and not bring forth a referendum, initiative or any other “public process” about any of those things.

The settlement brings a long and fraught legal contest to a close.

Members of Yolo Ratepayers for Affordable Public Utility Services sued the city in 2013, claiming Davis’ consumption-based water rates — which were overturned by Measure P in June — were illegal and disproportionate. They also alleged that the old Bartle Wells rates in use in 2013-14 were similarly illegal.

Yolo Superior Court Judge Dan Maguire ruled in the city’s favor in January on major aspects of the case, but significant sections of the Yolo Ratepayers’ lawsuit remained to be settled.

These were sections pertaining to the city using water and sewer services without paying for them and other more minor claims than those against the water rates.

While those claims were leftovers from the main part of the suit, the continuing legal action could have jeopardized the city’s ability to obtain bond funding for the surface water project at the best possible rates. Better rates would mean less onerous monthly bills for city ratepayers.

In the joint statement, Munn said he continues to be concerned about water costs, but approves of the settlement.

“I am glad we can put this matter behind us and I look forward to working with the city in the future,” he said.

Wolk said the settlement means the community can move beyond “the disputes of the past and focus our united efforts on ensuring the long-term success of our water project.”

— Reach Dave Ryan at dryan@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews

 

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Bridges of Yolo County: Wear, tear … repair?

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Four days of unusual, adventuresome music

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Spanish police arrest 4 suspected members of a jihadi cell

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Abortion opponents express renewed hope at California rally

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Share your love (story) with us

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Fake schools draw federal scrutiny

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Winter produce available at Sutter market

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Donations to be distributed during homeless count

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    Speaker will share computer security tips

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Logos Books celebrates 5 years, offers language groups

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Australian olive oil company opens U.S. headquarters in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Explore at the YOLO Outdoor Expo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Yolo animal shelter seeking rawhide donations

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5

    Woodland Healthcare employees take Great Kindness Challenge

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    At the Pond: Nest boxes give birds new homes

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    California ranks worst in nation for guidance counselors

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Davis, Woodland are saving water

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A12

    Words and Music Festival events

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Forum

    Family isn’t keen on relationship

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

     
     
    Caring for the aging mouth

    By Samer Alassaad | From Page: A8

    Big utilities’ nightmare begins to play out

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

     
    Mayor’s Corner: Let’s renew Davis together

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: A10

    We have the right to choose

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    We don’t have to suffer

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    City helped immensely

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    When measles spreads from Disneyland, it’s a small world after all

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

     
    From innovation parks to innovative buildings and planning

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

    Wildcats’ inaugural kids development league exceeds expectations

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggies get top 2015 gymnastics score, but fall short

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Loud crowd sees DHS boys win

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Lady Devils hold off Pacers, stay perfect in league

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD men take two tennis matches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

     
    Watney in ninth at Humana Challenge

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Davis man focusing on cannabidiol business

    By Will Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    Marrone Bio’s Regalia approved for new uses in Canada

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    UCD grad makes insurance ‘hot 100′ list

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, January 25, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8