Should we sue the City of Oxnard?

Moving Oxnard Forward


Aaron — 

Perhaps you can help me with an urgent question:

Should we sue the City of Oxnard?

Oxnard’s utilities are charging us a lot for our water, sewer and trash services. But instead of using all of that money for their intended purposes, including needed infrastructure maintenance, the City of Oxnard then charges those utility enterprises an Infrastructure Use Fee of around $7 million per year.

That is $7 million being skimmed off the top — each year — and diverted to the City’s general fund for the City Council’s pet projects.

Not only is that unacceptable, it’s also unlawful.

Under Proposition 218, city-owned utilities can only charge rates to cover the actual costs of providing that specific utility service. The utility cannot charge its users for other purposes and then transfer that revenue to the city’s general fund; such schemes evade the constitutional requirement to hold public votes on tax increases.

The courts have agreed with our position in high profile cases, specifically Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. City of Roseville (2002) and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. City of Fresno (2005).

Even after presenting the Oxnard City Council with these facts — on more than one occasion! — they refuse to even discuss the matter publicly. 

I have been speaking with lawyers and they are ready to go forward with a lawsuit.

So, Aaron, tell me your opinion.

Is it time to sue the City of Oxnard to make them return the money and follow the law?

Aaron Starr
[email protected]

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Josh Reynolds

It looks like your lawsuit was already ready to go when released this press release.