LWV League of Women Voters of California
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Orange County, CA November 5, 2002 Election
Measure Z
Restore Utility Tax to 5%
City of Placentia

Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required

3,434 / 37.7% Yes votes ...... 5,663 / 62.3% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 12 4:00pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (36/36)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Initiative Ordinance No.2002-01: Shall Sections
3.28.020(a), 3.28.030(a), 3.28.040(a) and 3.28.060 of the Municipal Code of the City of Placentia be amended to restore the City's utility user tax to the previously existing rate of five percent (5%) on telephone, electricity, gas and cable television use?

Impartial Analysis from City attorney
The City currently charges a utility user tax of 3.5% on the amount utility customers within the City pay for water, telephone, electricity, gas, and cable television services. That tax is collected by each utility as part of the regular utility bill. The rate of the tax has periodically been adjusted over the years in response to general fund and budget considerations. During the 1970s and as recently as 1985, the utility user tax rate was 5%. The revenue the City receives from the utility user tax is deposited in the City's General Fund, which pays for general City services and ongoing operations, including police services, parks, recreational programs, senior citizen programs, maintenance of City property and other municipal services.

Measure Z would increase the utility user tax rate from the current 3.5% to the previously established 5%. It is estimated the increase would raise approximately $850,000 in revenue which would be used to fund general City services and ongoing operations, including police services, parks, recreational programs, senior citizen programs, maintenance of City property and other municipal services.

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Arguments For Measure Z Arguments Against Measure Z
We don't like taxes. No one wants to raise taxes. But the cost of providing City services keeps rising. Although our costs are rising, Sacramento keeps "adjusting" and "shifting" tax revenues away from cities to fund state programs. Our share of property and sales taxes keeps diminishing, although our costs continue increasing.

One tax the state can't touch is the utility user tax. Every penny of the utility user tax stays in Placentia and is used to fund services you expect and to maintain the City's quality of life and property values. It funds police services, our payments to the Orange County Fire Authority for fire protection services, youth and senior programs and park and street maintenance. It even funds our battles to eliminate train whistles.

The utility user tax was 5% as recently as 1985. It was 5% when it was first adopted and it was 5% all through the 1970s. Measure Z will restore the utility user tax to 5%. Adoption of Measure Z will raise approximately $850,000 in additional revenue to be placed in the City's General Fund for City operations and governmental services. It is estimated it will only cost the average household $3.00 per month. This is a small amount to pay to ensure the continuation of the high level of quality police, fire, parks and recreation programs, tree trimming, street repairs and other vital services that our residents enjoy.

The utility user tax is a fair tax because it is based on utility use and is not a property-based tax.

Help preserve the quality of life that makes Placentia a great place to live. Vote YES on Measure Z and keep your tax dollars at home in Placentia.

Our utility tax was initiated for the explicit purpose of constructing a new City Hall complex, of which the bonds were paid off in 1999. There was no "Sunset Clause" for this tax, and, as usual, other things began to be funded by this tax.

Over the years the utility tax has been raised and lowered. It is our opinion that it is inappropriate to fund essential services (police, fire, etc.) from a utility tax. Say No to higher taxes!!!

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The Utility User Tax has been raised or lowered over the years # to meet the service needs and demands of our citizens. What better source of funding for our police, fire and other essential services is there? Property taxes, sales taxes, and vehicle licensing taxes are all subject to the whim of Sacramento. Placentia's share of these taxes has been whittled away to pay for state programs and state deficits. Our hotel room tax revenues are small - the City has not sold its financial soul to developers of high rise hotels for a few room tax dollars. The utility user tax, however, is controlled by our residents and every cent goes to fund our local services.

The funds needed to pay for police, fire and other essential services do not grow on trees. We pay for these services through taxes. We believe that the best way to ensure that the City is able to provide essential services is through the utility user tax, a tax that we can control.

The proposed increase from 3.5% to 5% will cost an average of $3.00 a month per residence. That is a small price to pay for continued superior police, fire and other essential services. The utility user tax is our tax and under our control and it funds our needs.

Vote "Yes" to maintain the quality of our superior police, fire and other essential services.

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Created: December 6, 2002 03:14 PST
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