Misappropriated fees should be returned

It is time for Glendale residents to get up from our quiet neighborhoods and be “animated” in our new little Toontown. It seems like we are living in Foolville when it comes to Glendale Water & Power’s pending rate increase request to pay for infrastructure improvements.

I want to say “thank you” to Harry Zavos for his time, effort and perseverance for bringing to light the misappropriation of taxpayer money from Glendale Water & Power funds (“Redirected funds would cover water-rate hike,” Dec. 6). I really appreciate him going to the City Council and raising awareness in this matter.

Zavos's hard work and efforts have led to the revelation that some $20.5 million charged to the residents of Glendale by Glendale Water & Power for services has been siphoned off by the city to pay for unrelated utility services. This is in direct violation of California voter-approved Proposition 218.

This practice was also done in the city of Los Angeles and a court ruled that it was unconstitutional in that, under Proposition 218, any fees charged to the public must relate to the services billed.

The residents of Glendale got a rate increase when we significantly reduced our water usage because of the drought. Our rates never got rolled back, even if the drought was declared over. Now, the utility is asking the City Council to again increase rates because they need funds to pay for capital improvements. Glendale Water & Power, or rather the taxpayer, has been treated like an ATM machine for the city.

The City Council should return this misappropriated money to the utility fund and not increase our rates, or refund the money to the residents and business taxpayers who have been paying for non-utility expenses through the account transfers over the years. Clearly, the residents should not be charged twice for the same thing.

I also want to thank Councilman Rafi Manoukian for taking the right stance on this issue by finding a great solution and being in touch with the sentiments of the residents of Glendale.

Erica Passman


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