Dec 28, 2000

Another California City Votes to Withdraw from Water Agency

LAKEWOOD, Calif., Jan. 26 -- With a unanimous
vote, the Lakewood City Council decided to begin a process of secession from the
Southern California Water Replenishment District (WRD), following recent similar
actions by eight other cities in Southeast Los Angeles County.
The vote was taken following a presentation by
the Bureau of State Audits, who recently released a report on the District's
management. Among other things, the State Auditor found the WRD has consistently
overcharged cities -- and therefore consumers -- for its water replenishment
activities, and has failed to adequately control administrative expenses.
The Auditor also concluded that expensive new
capital improvement projects could end up costing water users millions of
additional dollars, instead of saving them money as claimed by the District.
"The Auditor's report confirms what we have
believed for some time now: The WRD is on a spending spree with the consumers'
money, and must be brought under control. Either we find a way to do that --
through legislation or some other means -- or we will have no option but to
withdraw to protect the interests of our citizens," said Lakewood Mayor
Joseph Esquivel following the vote.
Lakewood and the eight other cities currently
served by the WRD are prepared to create a new joint powers authority to take
over their water replenishment needs. Their proposal to withdraw from the
District and create the new authority will go before the Local Agency Formation
SOURCE: Issues Management Network