On March 25, 2021, after three years of extensive litigation, Benink & Slavens LLP obtained a judgment for its client Aaron Starr against the City of Oxnard in Ventura County Superior Court. The lawsuit alleged that Oxnard embedded a surcharge called an Infrastructure Use Fee in its water, sewer, and trash rates that was unrelated to the cost of providing utility service in violation of Proposition 218. The surcharges were diverted to Oxnard’s general fund for general governmental services. The City claimed that the transferred funds were partly funded from non-rate revenue, but the Court agreed with Starr that City’s evidence lacked any legal basis. The Court ordered Oxnard to restore $36.5 million from its general fund to its utility funds – representing nearly seven years of illegal transfers – and to cease the imposition of the surcharge in the future.
You can learn more about Proposition 218 here.