The Court of Appeal Holds Groundwater Augmentation Charges Fees for Water Services Under Proposition 218 and Provides Much-Needed Guidance on Several Related Issues
A state appellate panel on Tuesday published a decision that gives local agencies much-needed guidance on the application of Proposition 218. In Griffith v. Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency (Oct. 15, 2013, H038087) ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 822) (Griffith), the Sixth District Court of Appeal found that, under the measure, groundwater augmentation charges are fees for “water service” and therefore they are not subject to the voter-approval requirement. Further, the court confirmed that proper apportionment for property-related fees is measured not payer by payer, but collectively considering all ratepayers. The court also provided guidance on Proposition 218’s other substantive limitations.