The Los Angeles City Council will continued to withhold $600,000 it owns to its Department of Water and Power for city utility bills in a dispute over consulting fees that the council wants the DWP to pay but which the DWP states have been forced on it by a council that lacks jurisdiction to do so.

The council Tuesday postponed a vote that would have dealt with the issue of whether to continue to withhold the payment. The result is the payment will continue to be withheld. The council is scheduled to take up the matter again Aug. 3.

At the heart of the issue is $600,000 in extra consulting that was requested by the council but which the DWP would have to pay. PA Consulting provided analysis of a proposed DWP rate hike that was ultimately approved at a lower rate than the department desired.

The DWP has withheld payment to the consulting firm, and the council in turn has failed to pay its utility bills.

The department originally agreed to a $250,000 cost for consulting, not the additional $600,000.

“Under the charter, this board controls the funds of DWP so council doesn't have the ability to appropriate DWP funds,'' DWP counsel Joe Brajevich said previously. “There's no authorization by this board above the $250,000.''

LA Weekly