Burbank city attorneys have filed a response denying the allegations set forth in a lawsuit in which a Burbank resident accused the city of making illegal wire transfers from its utility to the city’s General Fund, according to court records.

In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in September, Burbank resident Christopher Spencer argued that the city's long-standing practice of transferring utility funds to the city's General Fund, which pays for most public services, has illegally hiked up water rates to the point where they “exceed the reasonable costs” of providing the service.

During the past three fiscal years, the city has transferred roughly $3.4 million from the utility’s water fund to the General Fund.

Spencer asked the court to order the city to stop making the transfers and to restore to the utility all funds he claimed were transferred illegally.

But in its response, which was filed last month, the city denied the allegations and also argued that Spencer failed to exhaust all of his administrative remedies.

“We’ve denied the complaint,” City Attorney Amy Albano said Tuesday. “We’re going to proceed with defending the lawsuit.”

A hearing on the case is scheduled to be held in February.

Burbank is among four cities that have been sued in roughly the last year for what plaintiffs have called an illegal practice in which cities transfer millions of water-fund dollars to their respective General Funds.

The lawsuit filed against Burbank in September came on the heels of one of the cities, Riverside, settling its lawsuit. Pasadena and Anaheim were targets of similar lawsuits filed in September of this year and November of last year, respectively.

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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