Seal Beach amends contract with water and sewer consultant

The council this week unanimously approved an amendment to the city’s contract with Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc., to provide water and sewer financial planning services to Seal Beach.

This started as Consent Calendar item, but District Four Council Member/Mayor Schelly Sustarsic pulled it for separate consideration.

District Three Councilwoman Lisa Landau asked if the scope of work was remaining the same.

Public Works Director Iris Lee said the scope of work would include additional analysis for the council study session and public outreach. (The study session scheduled for March 20 was canceled and will be held on a future date.)

Landau asked if Raftelis would come up with a new way of billing that is more equitable throughout Seal Beach. District Five Councilman Nathan Steele asked her to define “equitable.”

“So that every resident of Seal Beach is included in this billing process, including Leisure World,” Landau said.

“Aren’t they already,” Steele asked.

“I’m sorry?”

“Aren’t they already included?” Steele asked.

“Not equitably,” Landau said.

“Define equitable,” Steele said.

“Well, they need to pay a different share versus—”

“Who does?”

City Clerk Gloria Harper asked Landau to please speak into the mic.

“They don’t have the capital costs,” Landau said.

“Who doesn’t have the capital costs?” Steele asked.

“Specifically, residents in Leisure World,” Landau asked.

“Leisure World does not pay their fair share, is that what you’re saying?” Steele asked.


“Wow, OK.”

Steele asked her what evidence she had.

Landau said Leisure World was not the only part of town with residents on fixed incomes.

Landau said she wanted to explore another way to bill for services to make it more equitable for all residents.

City Attorney Nicholas Ghirelli said the purpose of this contract was to make sure Raftelis is available for the public outreach and the study session.

He said the item had nothing to do with the rates, just making sure that the support from the rate consultant is available.

Lee said the rate structure is not part of the contract amendment.

Steele asked if the contract amendment was needed because the council has a special meeting coming up.

Lee said the original scope of services did not include further outreach.

According to Steele, the special meeting meant that Seal Beach would have to spend another $48,000 more.

Lee said that was correct.

Landau moved approval of the contract amendment.


“On June 12, 2023, the City Council adopted Resolution 7416 awarding a professional services agreement to Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc. (“Raftelis”) to provide water and wastewater financial planning services in a not-to-exceed amount of $82,415, and authorized the City Manager to approve additional work request in the amount of $5,000,” wrote Public Works Director Iris Lee in her staff report for the Monday, March 25, meeting.

“The water and wastewater financial plan and proposed rate adjustments were. presented to City Council on December 11, 2023. On the same night, City Council adopted Resolution 7472 setting a public hearing date on February 12, 2024, that was subsequently continued to February 26, 2024,” Lee wrote.

“At the close of the public hearing, City Council concluded the pending majority protest proceedings, and took no further action to adopt the rate adjustments. City Council further directed staff to further examine the rates, provide additional public outreach, and re-notice the public pursuant to Proposition 218 at a later date,” Lee wrote.