Originally posted at 10:20 p.m. Sept.3, 2013.
The San Juan Capistrano City Council voted in closed session Tuesday night to appeal an Orange County Superior Court judge’s ruling that the city has to change the way it bills for water.
Two members of the organization which sued the city, the Capistrano Taxpayers Association, warned officials earlier in the City Council meeting that they better change the rates before sending out any more water bills.
“The final ruling would appear to prohibit the city from issuing water bills,” said Jim Reardon. “Look at your water rates and adopt legal water rates,” he urged.
Because of a special meeting before the regular meeting to discuss affordable housing, the council held its closed session at the end of the meeting instead of the beginning.
After about an hour and 20 minutes, the council emerged and City Attorney Hans Van Ligten announced that the council voted to file an appeal in the case “if necessary.”
Asked what he meant by “if necessary,” Van Ligten said: “That’s always the case. Sometimes it is [necessary], sometimes it isn’t.”
The vote was 3-1, with Councilman Roy Byrnes opposed and Councilman Derek Reeve recusing himself because he once had a business relationship with a member of the Capistrano Taxpayers Association.
Reeve said before closed session he is seeking guidance from the California Fair Political Practices Commission to see if he may be able to participate in future deliberations.