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“Churchwell White saved the City of Dixon from paying millions of dollars in fines to the State of California. Their attorneys guided us through the Prop 218 process and protected our funding to build an improved and expanded wastewater treatment facility.” —Jim Lindley, City Manager of Dixon

Opportunity

For years, the City of Dixon’s wastewater system was out of compliance with increasingly strict State Water Board requirements. The City needed to make a significant investment in long-term improvements to its sewer infrastructure.

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Challenge

Dixon relies on user fees to finance infrastructure improvements. After implementing a financing plan and going through a Prop 218 process, the City still had to overcome a referendum and two initiatives from a local taxpayer group aimed at preventing any sewer rate increase—even if it would force the City to pay millions in fines to the State of California.

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Solution

The attorneys at Churchwell White LLP navigated the referendum and initiatives by proving in a pre-election challenge they were unconstitutional and invalid. The City is now moving forward with complying with state health and safety regulations, protecting groundwater from contamination and implementing a wastewater solution for the next generation.

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Benefit

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The Churchwell White LLP legal team defended and enhanced the rights of public entities to perform essential government functions. Their efforts provide a roadmap for other public entities on how to provide clean drinking water, navigate the Prop 218 process and finance critically important infrastructure improvements.