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Smart Voter
Orange County, CA November 5, 2002 Election
Measure Q
Utility User's Tax
City of Los Alamitos

1,781 / 67.6% Yes votes ...... 855 / 32.4% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 12 4:00pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (11/11)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall Ordinance 540 remain in effect, continuing the existing , and not to exceed, six (6) percent utility users tax in the City of Los Alamitos to fund general city services such as police, parks, children's and senior programs, and street repairs, and further, that low-income households(regardless of age) remain exempt from the tax, and that the tax is subject to an annual financial review?

Impartial Analysis
This Measure, if approved by the voters of Los Alamitos, would confirm and maintain the Utility Users Tax in effect since 1991.

In 1991, the Los Alamitos City Council adopted Ordinance No. 540 approving a Utility Users Tax of up to 6% on certain utilities. The Utility Users Tax took effect on April 8, 1991, and has remained in effect since that date. The City Council adopted the Utility Users Tax based upon California Court of Appeal decisions that cities were not required to submit such taxes for voter approval. Subsequently, the California Supreme Court overruled these Court of Appeal decisions, holding that cities must either obtain voter approval for the Utility Users Tax, or cease imposing the tax and collecting its proceeds. Currently, Los Alamitos households' Utility Users Tax payments average less than $12 per month, generating approximately $1,660,000 annually, which represents approximately 20% of Los Alamitos' general fund budget.

The proposed Utility Users Tax is identical to the tax that the City approved in 1991, which has remained in effect for the past eleven years. If approved, this Measure does not impose any new fees or taxes on City residents or businesses, but allows the existing utility users' tax to remain in effect.

Under the tax, utility service providers collect from Los Alamitos residents and businesses 6% of the amounts billed for telephone, electricity, gas and water services, and remit those moneys to the City. All proceeds from the tax are placed in the City's general fund and used for the usual current expenses of the City. Certain persons and entities, including persons and families qualifying as "very low income" may be exempted from the tax.

The City Council is required to review the Utility Users Tax on an annual basis in considering the City's general fund budget for the upcoming year. If it determines that the City's financial condition will not be adversely affected, the City Council may temporarily reduce the tax rate, as it did for the periods of February 1, 2002, through February 1, 2003, after which it would revert to 6% unless the City Council again reduces it.

If this Measure is passed, Los Alamitos residents and businesses will continue to pay the up to 6% Utility Users Tax, and the City will continue to receive the tax for the payment of general municipal activities such as police services, recreational facilities improvements, street repairs, senior citizen activities, after school recreation activities, children and adult classes, general city administration, etc.

If this Measure is rejected, the City Council would need to cut about $1,660,000 per year from the City's general fund budget.

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Ordinance No. 540, Measure Q printed in its entirety in the ballot pamphlet.

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Arguments For Measure Q Arguments Against Measure Q
Since April 1991, Los Alamitos residents have paid a 6% surcharge on telephone, gas, electric and water bills. Called a Utility Users Tax (UUT), the fee is critical to maintaining current levels of city services because it generates $1.7 million of Los Alamitos' $8.2 million General Fund budget - money that is used for police protection; parks, recreation and senior's programs, street repairs and other vital services.

A recent California Supreme Court decision requires voter approval for Los Alamitos to continue collecting the UUT.

Because the fee is critical to maintaining the quality of life in Los Alamitos, we strongly encourage you to vote YES on Measure Q. We call it Los Alamitos' "6% Difference" because our UUT pays for high-quality services that distinguish us from other communities.

Here are some important points to consider:

  • Approving Measure Q will not increase taxes one penny; it just continues an existing fee. In fact, Measure Q prohibits the City Council from raising the UUT beyond the current 6%, and allows it to be lowered at anytime if revenues are not needed for services.
  • Low-income seniors and low-income families are exempt from paying the UUT.
  • The UUT is the only revenue source that is 100% generated in Los Alamitos and 100% spent in Los Alamitos.
  • The fee generates $1.7 million of the $8.2 Million General Fund. These funds help pay for services that increase our quality of life and property values, including police patrols, youth and senior programs, and park and street maintenance.
  • The UUT costs the average homeowner less than $12 per month or 40 cents per day - well worth the quality of life we enjoy.

To preserve the quality of life that makes Los Alamitos a great place to live, we strongly urge you to vote YES on Measure

No argument against this measure was submitted

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Created: December 6, 2002 03:14 PST
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