Measure TT Will Allow Public to Vote on Consolidation of Mesa Water District and Costa Mesa Sanitary District
- 31 August 2016
Costa Mesa, Calif. – Mesa Water District is satisfied with the result of its settlement today with the Costa Mesa Sanitary District (CMSD) to simplify Measure TT’s ballot question. Both Mesa Water and CMSD accepted rephrasing Measure TT to read:
Shall the Mesa Water District and Costa Mesa Sanitary District pursue consolidation?
“Mesa Water is pleased with the outcome,” said Mesa Water General Manager Paul E. Shoenberger, P.E. “The public will get to vote on consolidation, the ballot question is clear, and CMSD has not challenged the savings and benefits identified in the study by Arcadis.”
Orange County Superior Court Judge Andrew P. Banks accepted Mesa Water’s and CMSD’s agreement of the new Measure TT ballot question.
“This agreement also validates the study’s findings in that CMSD did not legally challenge the $15.6 million up-front and $2.7 million annual cost savings that could be passed on to ratepayers if the districts combined,” said Mesa Water Board President Shawn Dewane.”
Included in Measure TT’s ballot text, impartial analysis and argument in favor, is information from a recent Optimal Governance Structure Study report by Arcadis U.S., Inc. The study shows that combining Mesa Water and CMSD could reduce costs for the same or better water, sewer and trash collection services, maintain financial strength, and provide improved flexibility, transparency and customer service.
“Mesa Water has been exploring the potential benefits of consolidation,” said Mr. Shoenberger. “Mesa Water’s Board placed Measure TT on the ballot to present voters with information on the substantial cost-savings, efficiencies, and significant improvements that could result from consolidation.”
On August 9, the Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected CMSD’s attempt to block Measure TT from being included on the ballots of approximately 8,000 voting customers who reside outside of the two districts’ common service boundaries. The Board of Supervisors believed voters within the Mesa Water and CMSD service boundaries should be included as a future consolidation could affect them.
Measure TT is a non-binding advisory measure that asks ratepayers if consolidation of the two districts, which share an almost identical service area and customer base, is something that should be formally pursued. Mesa Water provides potable (drinking) water service, and CMSD provides wastewater (sewer) and solid waste (trash) collection services. The election results, while non-binding, would help guide potential next steps in the consolidation process. If passed by voters, further actions would be required by both districts along with more in-depth, formal studies and deliberation by the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission which has final say on all government agency consolidations in Orange County.
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