Then, on the other hand, you have those who are working to do away with utility taxes altogether.
Those attempting to raise utility taxes (or, as we prefer to call them, CalPERS taxes), face an unfortunate perception problem. At 12% this UUT would be the largest municipal utility tax of its kind in California history. Something that would make Sierra Madreans look a bit like chumps. Especially when most of the resulting revenue would be used for things like CalPERS payments, which would not benefit the taxed in any possible way.
Those other considerations, like badly needed infrastructure repairs, would have to be funded by as yet unlevied property tax increases. Exciting news apparently being saved for somewhere around 2018.
Obviously City Hall is worried about having to once again put a utility tax increase on the ballot. As they should be. Having lost the previous two elections is no small thing, and while they do not like to talk about their ignominious defeats in public very much it is determining the actions they are taking now. Dog & pony show hand picked committees, carefully staged and stacked public outreach events, various astro-turfing publicity stunts designed to manufacture a public consensus for a tax hike where none exists, all of the usual stops have been pulled out.
And, as in the past, to little real effect. Nobody wants it. If they did the residents would have voted to increase their utility taxes in 2012 and 2014.
The latest of these efforts to manufacture a sense of public urgency for increasing utility taxes is a proposed poll. Apparently the already available data from two consecutive elections not enough, and City Hall now wants to spend as much as $30,000 to find out what you really think. No, really think. Or at least come up with a different result justifying their latest attempt to confiscate more of your dough.
Here is how that boondoggle is detailed in the related agenda report for tomorrow evening's City Council meeting (link).
Apparently the mantra at City Hall remains the same. "When in doubt, spend money."
On the other side of the fence you have Earl Richey and David McMonigle, two gentlemen who have been trying for the last year or so to put their "Stop the Utility Users' Tax" initiative on the ballot. Something that would do away with utility taxes here altogether. And while they have received more than the necessary amount of signatures, various concerned government entities have declared enough of them invalid to, at least so far, prevent this from being voted on next April.
Obviously City Hall is not amused, and is going all out to prevent you from being able to vote utility taxes in Sierra Madre out of existence for good. Should you choose to do so.
Of course, maybe the city would prefer that you just pay for $30,000 polls. The results of which would be much easier for them to interpret to their benefit.
Here are the filing papers as submitted last week by David McMonigle and Earl Richey.
So there you go. On April 12, 2016 you may very well have an interesting choice to make. You could vote yourself the highest utility taxes in the state at 12%, or the very lowest at 0%.
Kind of exciting.