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Prop 218 Protest Votes
From the Gilroy Dispatch:
If more than half the well owners in South Santa Clara County protest next year's groundwater charges, then the fees will not be levied as they have in the past.
When the Santa Clara Valley Water District begins the annual process of setting groundwater extraction charges next week, one topic of discussion will be the "majority protest procedure" allowed under Proposition 218, a constitutional amendment that requires voter approval for taxes and property related fees.
... if a majority of well owners protest in writing to the charges, then the district cannot collect them, based on Proposition 218.
But allowing a majority protest is not enough to satisfy Proposition 218, according to Tim Guster, general counsel for San Jose-based Great Oaks Water Co. If a majority of well owners end up protesting next year's groundwater charges, that only means the water district cannot take a vote and there will be no imposition of the fees.
"If there is not a majority protest, a vote must still be taken," Guster said. Such a vote can be cast among either the well owners or the general electorate.
Note: The Encinitas City Council have already indicated that they do not intend on letting the public vote on water rate increases and, instead, they intend to vote for a rate increase without seeking the approval of the majority ratepayers. ETA members are divided on whether or not this is a reasonable way to proceed, but it does make all non-responses function as yes votes for any rate increase. The council cannot claim they have no other option, because they do.