Water district board OKs lower property tax rate

LOS ANGELES — The Metropolitan Water District board voted today to lower its property tax rate for the six counties in the district's Southern California service area.

The board set its 2010-11 property tax rate at 0.0037 percent of a property's assessed valuation, down from 0.0043 percent in 2009-10.

The newly adopted rate means the owner of a property assessed at $100,000 would pay $3.70 a year, down from $4.30, according to the district.

Revenue from the tax assessment is used to pay off voter-approved bonds used to finance construction of water-delivery projects, including the Colorado River Aqueduct and the State Water Project. According to the MWD, property taxes account for about 5 percent of the district's roughly $1.5 billion in revenue.

Meanwhile, the board also approved a set of power-management policies aimed at offsetting anticipated five-fold increases in electricity costs incurred by the district to operate its water-delivery system.

"As one of the larger energy users in the state, we have an obligation to pursue policies that are consistent with the district's goals to balance long-term reliability and control costs, with the added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,'' said Timothy Brick, MWD board chairman.

As part of that effort, the board's policies include a call for renewable energy projects, including solar-power-generating projects at several of the district's water treatment plants and alternative-energy efforts for the Colorado River Aqueduct and Diamond Valley Lake.