After careful legal analysis, in my opinion, the current water rates are illegal. On Oct. 28, the city manager explained the consultant stated the “city stood on solid ground.” The city attorney stated the rates were legal and staff would “come back sometime next year with a proposal to study the water rates and look at other options. I am not entertaining changing the rates until we go through that process.”
If the rates are legal (which they aren’t), why would the city spend money to “go through the process?” Why study “other rates” if the current rates are legal?
Thirty units of water consumed by four different users results in charges from $99 to $200. Since charges are required to be based on costs, this proves the current rates are illegal as the water costs the same in each case. It is telling that the city has refused to refute this analysis. San Juan Capistrano adopted new rates months ago. San Clemente has not.
Professionals need to be held accountable. The consultant should agree to return his fees if the rates are illegal. The city attorney should agree to pay: 1. to defend the lawsuit and 2. resulting damages if the court finds the rates are illegal. The city manager should agree to resign if these rates are illegal.
Council: If these individuals are unwilling to take responsibility, hire professionals that are.