The meaning behind Measure B

Glendale currently obligates Glendale Water and Power to transfer $21 million annually to pay for general city expenses.

In contrast, the charter provides transfers only from the GWP surplus fund that represents any monies leftover after all GWP obligations are met.

While $21 million is transferred regardless of surplus, we’re told they're critically needed GWP improvements; but, there’s no GWP money for them without rate increases.

Measure B amends the charter to reflect this city practice; it changes the current charter source of the transfers (i.e, surplus leftover after all GWP budget obligations are met) to a GWP budgeted obligation, regardless of surplus.

The 1941 resolution initiating transfers evidences that they were to come only from surplus. Transfers are restricted to a “reasonable portion of the surplus.” The 1941 resolution provided the “reasonable portion” formula; it states: “… there shall be transferred from the Public Service Surplus Fund to the General Reserve Fund a maximum amount equal to..12% [now 25%] of the operating revenues of the ... Department.”

Yes, the charter intends GWP to contribute to the general government through the vehicle of the General Reserve Fund, but not at the expense of the utility; the contribution is to come only from surplus. Measure B legalizes the city’s current practice of cannibalizing the utility to pay for general city obligations. Voting “no” on Measure B retains the utility’s charter protection.

Harry Zavos

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