City of Oxnard Issues Credit To Utility Customers; Also Cuts Current Utility Rates To Exclude Infrastructure Use Fee

OXNARD, Calif. – In a series of decisions that culminated in its final ruling in July of 2021 regarding the City of Oxnard’s Infrastructure Use Fee (IUF), the Ventura County Superior Court ordered the City to reimburse its utility funds a total of $36.5 million over a three-year period and to remove the IUF from utility charges effective June of 2021. 

The City is going beyond that by making those changes retroactive as of January 2020 and issuing a credit to all utility customers.

“The City tackled the $36.5 million reimbursement as its first priority among several in regard to the IUF ruling,” said City Manager Alexander Nguyen. “The next priority was not just removing the IUF fee but creating a 20-month credit for all utility customers. It took staff some time to work through 100+ revenue categories across all three utilities, but that shouldn’t distract from the fact that the City was determined to make things right. At the end of day, the City’s utility customers are receiving a significant reimbursement credit that goes beyond what the Court ruling required.”

Ratepayers will see the following changes in their October 2021 utility bill:

  1. One-Time Utility Billing Credit: All residential and commercial utility customers will receive a one-time rate reduction credit in September that will appear on their October 2021 utility bill. This means that customers will be credited for 20 months of IUF payments (January 2020 through August 2021) on their October 2021 utility bill. The City will credit a total of $7.1 million to its residential and commercial ratepayers.
  2. Utility Rate Reduction: Based upon the Court’s order, the City will no longer include the IUF in the current utility rates. Customers will see the average percentage reduction of 3.4% for Water, 2.7% for Wastewater, and 3.5% for Environmental Resources applied to future bills effective in September and will appear on October utility bills. This will result in about $4 million annually in savings for the City’s residential and commercial ratepayers.

Added Nguyen, “As I’ve stated before, the judge’s ruling on this matter was fair and reasonable; the City erred in its implementation of the IUF. We will certainly correct it.” 

Current utility customers will not have to take any additional steps as all changes will automatically be applied to their bills.

La ciudad de Oxnard emite crédito a los clientes de servicios públicos; También reduce las tarifas de servicios públicos actuales para excluir la tarifa de uso de infraestructura

OXNARD, Calif. – En una serie de decisiones que culminaron en su orden final en julio de 2021 con respecto a la Tarifa de Uso de Infraestructura (IUF, por sus siglas en inglés) de la Ciudad de Oxnard, La Corte Superior del Condado de Ventura ordenó a la Ciudad reembolsar sus fondos de servicios públicos un total de $36.5 millones durante un período de tres años y eliminar la IUF de los cargos por servicios públicos a partir de junio de 2021.

La Ciudad va más allá al hacer esos cambios retroactivos a partir de enero de 2020 y emitir un crédito a todos los clientes de servicios públicos.

“La Ciudad abordó el reembolso de $36.5 millones como su primera prioridad entre varias en lo que respecta a la orden de la IUF”, dijo el administrador de la ciudad Alexander Nguyen. “La siguiente prioridad no fue solo eliminar la tarifa de la IUF, sino crear un crédito de 20 meses para todos los clientes de servicios públicos. Al personal le tomó algo de tiempo trabajar en más de 100 categorías de ingresos en las tres categorías de servicios públicos, pero eso no debería distraer la atención del hecho de que la Ciudad estaba decidida a hacer las cosas bien. Al final del día, los clientes de servicios públicos de la Ciudad están recibiendo un crédito de reembolso significativo que va mucho más allá de lo que requería la orden de la corte”.

Los contribuyentes verán los siguientes cambios en su factura de servicios públicos de octubre de 2021:

  1. Crédito de facturación de servicios públicos por única vez: Todos los clientes de servicios públicos residenciales y comerciales recibirán un crédito de reducción de tarifas por única vez en septiembre que aparecerá en su factura de servicios públicos de octubre de 2021. Esto significa que a los clientes se les acreditarán 20 meses de pagos de la IUF (de enero de 2020 a agosto de 2021) en su factura de servicios públicos de octubre de 2021. La Ciudad acreditará un total de $7.1 millones a sus contribuyentes residenciales y comerciales.
  2. Reducción de la tarifa de servicios públicos: Según la orden de la corte, la Ciudad ya no incluirá la IUF en las tarifas actuales de servicios públicos. Los clientes verán la reducción porcentual promedio de 3.4% para Agua, 2.7% para Aguas Residuales y 3.5% para Recursos Ambientales aplicados a las facturas futuras vigentes en septiembre y aparecerán en las facturas de servicios públicos de octubre. Esto resultará en aproximadamente $4 millones anuales en ahorros para los contribuyentes residenciales y comerciales de la Ciudad.

Nguyen agregó: “Como he dicho antes, la decisión del juez fue justa y razonable; la Ciudad cometió un error en la implementación de la IUF. Sin duda lo corregiremos”.

Los clientes actuales de servicios públicos no tendrán que realizar ningún paso adicional, ya que todos los cambios se aplicarán automáticamente a sus facturas.

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Dotty Pringle

Here a novel idea! Our criminal bureaucrats should be held financially accountable which they never will be…how about a lower salary and fewer perks for a few years!!

Yes, that could work just fine.

Dotty Pringle

Collusion: A secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy, especially in order to cheat or deceive others.

Douglas Partello

They can try and spin this any way they wish, but the bottom line is they were ripping off the ratepayers, in a calculated scheme. They were told by a number of citizens, and the City Treasurer this was wrong, after Mr. Nguyen became City Manager, and before, when Bert Perello was on the Council. So, they can try and play dumb, or claim they were not here, but the cover-up is as bad as the original crime.
The refund as a credit to the ratepayers is what the law allows, with the one year statute of limitations. But the “right thing” would be to refund ALL the overcharged money to the ratepayers. If a store overcharges, and it is found out, all the money overcharged is returned to the customer.
Aaron Starr had to make a calculation on the risk of seeking all the money returned to the ratepayers, versus returning the money to the utility funds. He took the safer course, to not allow them to get away Scott-free.
They only offered the refund to the ratepayers, AFTER Mr. Starr threatened to move forward with a class-action lawsuit on their behalf. Not out of a sense of moral obligation, or “to do the right thing”, but knowing full well that this would be very costly litigation, that the City would lose. That was a smart move, for once. But, the ratepayers only get back a fraction of the overcharges that was taken from their household budgets, since 2014.
When City leadership needs to cook up illegal schemes to fill gaps in the General Fund budget, that is a clear sign they do not know how to run a city, and have no moral compass in being in positions of trust by the public. Many of the folks that were having a hand in this scheme are gone. Those that are still here, and participate in the cover up should also be ousted.
Mr. Nguyen replied to the statement I made that Mr. Starr has been vilified by him, and others in City Hall, that it is not true, is the same person who called him a Fascist. Oxnard needs new leadership if our City is to survive, and thrive.

Dotty Pringle

Alex, you and Carmen fought this all the way down into the mud! You should have known better but tried to once again, play under the table. You all got caught! Carmen Ramirez needs to be disbarred over this and we all need a Judicial Remedy.

We need to have all of you pay this back civilly and I bet if that happened this would never go down again!! Your colors are showing and it’s not for the love of Oxnard, you two!! Both need to go!!!

Alicia Percell

Summary of Plaintiff’s response to this press release: Oxnard Takes Cookies, Returns Crumbs. After the city fought this in court for 4 years, “The City was determined to make things right,” wrote City Manager Nguyen, perhaps breaking his arm while patting himself on the back. Here’s a link to the full article: