League of Women Voters of California
Increase in existing utility user tax from 5% to 7.5%
City of Whittier
Majority Approval Required
5,672 / 32.84% Yes votes ...... 11,600 / 67.16% No votes
Index of all Measures
|Results as of Nov 26 10:38am, 100.00% of Precincts Reporting ( 49/ 49)|
|Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text|
Shall Ordinance No. 2811 be approved to increase the existing utility user tax from 5% on all utilities, as established by the City in 1970, to 7.5% on all utilities for the funding of general city services and programs and to ratify Ordinance No. 2804 enacted May 28, 2002?
This measure seeks voter approval of an increase in the Utility Users' Tax rate from 5% to 7.5% to be implemented by Ordinance Number 2811, and voter affirmation and ratification of Ordinance No. 2804 enacted May 28, 2002 to take account of and implement the federal Mobile Telecommunications Sourcing Act. The original Utility Users' Tax was adopted in 1970 and imposes a 5% tax on the use of utilities by Whittier residents. The tax applies to electricity, natural gas, water, cable television, and telephone services. The tax rate has never been increased. The ordinance contains provisions for the exemption of low income persons and procedures for seeking such exemptions. It also contains provisions relating to calculation and payment of the Utility Users' Tax, administration of the tax, and requests for refunds.
The Utility Users' Tax currently provides approximately $6.6 million of the City's general fund revenue, or approximately 16% of the City's general fund operating budget.
A "yes" vote on this measure would approve the increase in the Utility Users' Tax, and ratify Ordinance 2804 which implemented the Federal Mobile Telecommunications Sourcing Act. Although the Council approved ordinance 2804 to implement the Mobile Telecommunications Sourcing Act (which was enacted with the support of the wireless telephone industry), voter approval is being sought to confirm consistent treatment of wireless telephone service with traditional wired telephone service, and to avoid litigation threatened by one wireless carrier that would potentially cost Whittier taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Approval of the measure would generate additional general fund revenue in the
approximate amount of $3.36 million annually, which can be used to fund all
general services and programs, including high priority capital improvement
projects. The new tax rate would begin to be collected no later than March 1,
A "no" vote on this measure would leave the tax rate at 5%. If there is no increase in general fund revenue, the City Council will have to determine what programs, services or projects would have to be reduced, postponed or eliminated in coming budgets. If the measure does not pass, the income threshold for exemption from the tax will not be raised, but those currently eligible for the exemption would continue to qualify for it. In addition, the City will likely be exposed to a lawsuit and its attendant costs if Ordinance 2804 is not ratified.
THE ABOVE STATEMENT IS AN IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE W. IF YOU DESIRE A COPY OF THE UTILITY USERS' TAX ORDINANCE, PLEASE CALL THE CITY CLERK'S OFFICE AT (562) 464-3330, AND A COPY WILL BE MAILED AT NO COST TO YOU.
|Arguments For Measure W||Arguments Against Measure W|
|To fund vital services and promote a strong local business economy, Whittier
urgently requires new general fund revenue.
The Council's decision to establish a Citizens' Watchdog Committee to monitor Measure W spending will ensure accountability.
Public Safety Crisis
While protecting our community from crime and violence is more important than ever, state and federal reductions have forced our police department to cut officers and eliminate vital services.
Our police facility/emergency operations center, built 47 years ago for 20 officers, cannot accommodate our current 92 officers and their support staff. In an earthquake or terrorist attack, our emergency center would be overwhelmed and inadequate to efficiently serve our community.
While education revitalization efforts are moving ahead, our City cannot fulfill its education partnership responsibilities. Our library lacks enough space for literacy tutoring and an after-school homework assistance center. The overcrowding restricts children's reading programs and limits access for persons with disabilities.
Crisis Solution: Measure W
Measure W will cost the average Whittier household approximately $5 monthly, and low-income families will be exempted altogether.
Whittier residents need Measure W to meet citizens' many needs, including:
A CITIZENS COMMITTEE DOESN'T ENSURE accountability. It would be UNLAWFUL for the council to delegate its authority to others. The committee would be for advisement only.
The council shouldn't rely on state and federal revenues. These revenues should be treated as found money, which might not be found again.
Earthquakes of 8.0 would OVERWHELM any emergency center that exists.
Terrorist's first strike could be to render a police/emergency center useless.
Our library does an excellent job of meeting children's needs.
Persons with disabilities have NEVER been turned away from our library, and NEVER will.
Measure W will cost thousands of households $100.00 or more per year. As usual middle class families will suffer greatest. The poor are exempt and the rich can afford it.
Frequent statistics by the Whittier News PROVE our police are doing a superior job.
This would be impossible if their facilities were as bad as some would have you believe.
A new building will NOT GUARANTEE better protection. We could easily get less money then the 2/3's some think we will get towards a new library.
Our GENERAL FUND MEETS our NEEDS if we don't build a new library and police station.
Seniors and disabled have access to all city facilities. We have excellent after school programs.
Send a message to our council to be more PRUDENT. Ballot box budgeting isn't prudent.
MEASURE W is for WASTE.
Vote NO on W
|Any increase in the existing city utility tax will be for the funding of general
services and programs, as this tax is now currently doing. There are no
guarantees that this increased funding will aid in the building and, or, completion
of a new police station and library. If the city council appoints a committee to
oversee the spending of the proposed tax increase, the council is not obligated to
take their advice. The council will have the final decision on how the money will
be spent. In approximately 17 months there may be a newly elected council with
an opinion different than that of the current council.
WITH THE SIMILAR FINANCIAL BURDENS THAT ALL TEN CITY DEPARTMENTS FACE IT IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY THAT THIS TAX INCREASE WILL PROVIDE SUFFICIENT FUNDING FOR A NEW LIBRARY AND POLICE STATION.
As quoted from City Resolution 7470:
"The proposed budget reductions for the police department for fiscal year 2002/03 include elimination of the three narcotics detectives, elimination of one patrol officer, freezing one patrol officer position, reduction of part-time clerical help, elimination of all part time help in the Crime Analysis Unit, Elimination of one probation officer position, postponement of Communications (CAD) and Records Management (RMS) Systems improvements, and a likely postponement of the Police Department Fleet replacement. Similar impacts of loss of revenue and general fund shortfalls exist in all city departments."
Such cuts and postponements to the Police Department alone will save $1,614,929.00, according to the city clerk, which will be available to meet budget shortfalls.
It is foreseeable that further tax increases will be needed at a later date to complete these two projects. Such increases could take the form of enlarged Sales, Property, or Utility taxes.
Vote no on Measure "W".
The argument against Measure W does not dispute the need for a new police headquarters/emergency operations center, or our current facility's failure to meet today's public safety needs.
There is also no dispute that building a new library, with the state paying 2/3rds, will help improve literacy for children and adults.
In fact, the argument against Measure W seems to focus on only one thing: how will we know if funds are being spent properly? Our Council already answered that by voting unanimously to establish a Citizen Watchdog Committee to increase accountability and ensure that Measure W funds are spent on our priorities.
The facts about Measure W are clear:
Uptown Business Owner
|Full Text of Measure W|
|The People of the City of Whittier do ordain as follows:
The existing City of Whittier Utility Users' Tax, originally enacted by the City Council in 1970 by Ordinance No. 1895 and as last amended in 2002 by Ordinance No. 2804, is hereby modified by this measure.
The original ordinance instituted a 5% tax on electricity, fuel/natural gas, water, cable television, and telephone services to fund general municipal services, and has subsequently been amended from time to time.
To provide for general fund municipal services of the City of Whittier, the tax
rate on all utilities subject to the Whittier Utility Users' Tax shall be increased by
IF YOU DESIRE A COPY OF UTILITY USERS' TAX ORDINANCE NO. 2811, PLEASE CALL THE WHITTIER CITY CLERK'S OFFICE AT (562) 464-3330 AND A COPY WILL BE MAILED AT NO COST TO YOU.