It's not often that the Long Beach Water Department delivers money to its customers, but a billing error that officials recently discovered could bring a $10 refund to about 11,200 homeowners throughout the city.
The department is issuing the refunds to homeowners who were overcharged on their 1992-93 property tax bill by the Central Basin Municipal Water District, which serves most Southeast-area cities and served parts of Long Beach 30 years ago. The central district inadvertently charged some Long Beach property owners an extra service fee by using out-of-date maps, said Robert W. Cole, general manager of the Long Beach department. Apparently, a consultant to the central water district mistakenly used historical maps for the assessment.
"It was kind of a mystery," Cole said. "We weren't sure whether the consultant got the wrong (maps) from the county or mistakenly used his own that were out of date."
After Long Beach officials were alerted to the error, they negotiated with the central district to return the extra $112,000 to Long Beach.
Central district officials were not able to determine exactly which areas of the city were overcharged, Cole said.
Homeowners can check their 1992-93 property tax bill for a service listed as "CBMWD-Standby." If the charge appears, send a photocopy of the bill to the Long Beach Water Department, attention property tax refund, 1800 E. Wardlow Road, Long Beach 90807.
Any refunds not claimed by Dec. 31, 1994, will be used for water conservation programs in Long Beach, Cole said.