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Rate Increases During Tough Economic Times – A Case Study of the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation's Use of Stakeholder Outreach To Pass a Sewer Rate Adjustment

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This paper presents a case study of the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation (BOS) and how it was able to pass a large rate increase during tough economic times. The key to the successful rate adjustment involved a stakeholder outreach and political involvement process that lasted nearly 2 years. The stakeholder outreach process evolved from an initial plan for narrow focus groups to a broad campaign that included hundreds of meetings and workshops with environmental groups, neighborhood councils, business organizations, academic institutions, and influential community leaders. At the same time, in a parallel effort, the justification for the rate adjustment was honed by individual meetings with each of the City Council members and their staff, who provided valuable input on everything from the duration and size of the rate adjustments, to the photos used in public presentations. In the end, the key to the successful sewer rate increase for the City of Los Angeles was the ability to identify with their customers and communicate the need to remain a financially viable utility that provides a necessary public service for basic quality of life.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-01-01

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