Has city charged $27 million in illegal water fees?

Orange County Register | Way back in 1968, when there were still lots of orange trees in Orange County, the city of Fullerton tacked a 2 percent charge onto folks’ water bills to cover the cost of providing that water.

In 1970, the city hiked that charge to 10 percent – and there it has remained for 41 years.

This charge is “in lieu of franchise fees” — what a private company would pay the city for the exclusive privilege of providing water — and in lieu of property taxes, which many special districts collect to help provide water service.

That 10 percent fee generated about $2.5 million for Fullerton last year — and more than $27 million since 1997, according to city figures.

“We believe the fee and revenue transfers are illegal,” says a letter from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which arrived over the holidays in City Manager Joe Felz’s mailbox.  [CONTINUE READING]

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