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Smart Voter
Los Angeles County, CA March 8, 2005 Election
Measure LaVerne---S
Utility User Tax Increase
City of La Verne

2,476 / 51.8% Yes votes ...... 2304 / 48.2% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

To maintain current levels of public service in La Verne, shall an ordinance be adopted to increase the existing utility user’s tax from 4% to 6%?

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney Robert L. Kress
Measure S submits an ordinance, providing for increased rates for the existing utility user's tax, to the voters for their approval in compliance with Proposition 218, the Right to Vote on Taxes Act.

Measure S would increase the current 4% rate to 6% and the current 2% rate to 3%, effective July 1, 2005. These are maximum rates that cannot be increased without voter approval. The City Council is required to conduct an annual public hearing to determine if the rates can be lowered.

Other than the rates, there are no changes to the utility user's tax ordinance.

If Measure S is not approved by the voters, the current rates would continue to be imposed.

The La Verne utility user's tax is a general tax, and revenues collected are used to pay for the cost of general city operations, including police protection, fire services, park maintenance, public street lighting and mobilehome rent control administration.

  Official Information

City of La Verne
Meet the Candidates Night and Discussion of Measure 'S'

Tuesday, February 8, 2005, 7:00 p.m.
La Verne Community Center, 3680 'D' Street, La Verne (The City Clerk, as a community service, is hosting this event. For information call La Verne City Hall at (909) 596-8726.)
News and Analysis

San Gabriel Valley Tribune

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Arguments For Measure LaVerne---S Arguments Against Measure LaVerne---S
Do we want to KEEP LA VERNE SAFE and maintain our QUALITY OF LIFE? We believe the answer to this question is a resounding "YES"!

State "takeaways" have made it necessary for the La Verne City Council to ask the voters to raise funds or face reductions in the existing level of services.

La Verne continues to be a safe community + a hometown of which we are justifiably proud. Our low crime rate and fast emergency response times by the Police and Fire departments are the envy of other cities. Our parks and clean streets are important to us. In order to continue these existing service levels and preserve our quality of life a "YES" vote on Measure S is needed.


  • Since 1990, the City has increased its police and fire protection levels to maintain response times and a low crime rate.
  • In 1999 our citizens voted to keep La Verne safe by approving a 4% utility tax.
  • The continuing State "takeaways" amount to over $1.3 million of lost revenue to our City each year.

  • When compared to other utility taxes in the area, our current utility tax is the lowest and on the fewest utilities.
  • An increase from 4% to 6% would cost the typical household in La Verne $6 to $7 per month.
  • The increase will generate approximately $900,000 that would be used to maintain existing city services.
  • Over 70% of La Verne's budget is used to fund public safety services.

If we do not pass this measure, we will suffer service reductions that will negatively impact our quality of life. La Verne is a special community. Let's keep it that way + vote "YES on S"

s/ Jon Blickenstaff, Mayor

s/ Dan Harden, Council Member

s/ Tom Harvey, Council Member

s/ Robert F. Rodriquez, Council Member

Rebuttal to Arguments For
I would like to thank the La Verne Voters who in 1999 passed the 4% UUT that addresses the 1 million in state takeaways and in November 2004 passed proposition 1A, which will stop $350,000 in state takeaways.

I believe the voters of La Verne need to know the true nature of our current fiscal crises. In 2000 the City of La Verne was assured by CALPERS that our public employee's retirement system was fully funded for approximately 40 years without any additional payments. At that time the public safety employees and city negotiated and agreed to increase retirement benefits to 3% at 50 for public safety employees, meaning that our Police and Fire employees may retire at 50 and receive 3% of their highest year's salary for each year they have been employed. The paid up period would only be reduced to 9 years.

The surplus is gone, next year (July 2005-06), the city's total retirement costs are expected to be 2.1 Million dollars, and in 2006-07 the estimate is 2.3 Million.

I believe it is time for a more open discussion on how the UUT money is collected and why we need it. I do agree a tax increase is required to maintain current levels of service. I believe all residents benefit from our Police, Fire, Parks, and Public Works, and those residents that can afford to pay 6% UUT should pay 6%, not 3% because they live in a community with a higher percentage of voters.

s/ Steven F. Johnson, Mayor Pro Tem

On March 2nd 1999 the voters of La Verne passed a 4% User Utility Tax (UUT).

The UUT actually set up a split rate of 4% and 2%, and Exempted low income residents.We agree that all low income residents should be exempted, but the 2% rate has proven to be problematic.

After the UUT was passed, the city was informed the split rate 2% could not be collected by the utilities. In March of 2000 the Council exempted the 2% rate payers from all utilities including Phones, Natural Gas and Electricity. The Council then adopted a replacement flat fee of $2.00 per month for each housing unit. This fee has never been audited or adjusted, and additional city staff would be required to accurately collect the 2% rate.

We believe the split rate is unfair; it currently does not tax utility use and would require great expense to properly collect. The UUT supports the city general fund, all residents regardless of where they live benefit from our Police, Fire, Parks, and Public Works.

We understand the need to fill the budget gap, and support an increase to one rate of 5% UUT, that continues to exempt low income residents. One rate can be collected by the utilities eliminating the extra bureaucracy required to administer two rates.

If you vote NO, the City Council should bring the one rate option back in November. We believe the City has adequate reserves to allow this extra time to give you a choice.

s/ Steven F Johnson, Mayor Pro Tem

s/ Al Ostrander, Planning Commissioner

s/ Calvert A. Stephens, Past Planning Commissioner

s/ Harry E. McClintock, Retired City Employee

s/ Grace M. McClintock

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
We are fortunate to have a beautiful, safe, and clean city. We want to keep La Verne that way. Measure S will do just that.

Even those opposed to Measure S agree that our city needs additional revenues to keep pace with increased costs of city services + including fire and police protection, park maintenance and others.

Despite the passage of Proposition 1A, the State continues to grab and take an estimated $1.3 million from La Verne annually. We must address this shortfall or face serious cuts in services.

Measure S continues the two-tiered structure with single digit increases from the present rates of 2% and 4% to 3% and 6%, respectively. This structure was voter approved to provide fair and reasonable rates to those in senior housing, mobilehome parks, churches and other non-profit organizations.

Measure S will generate an additional $900,000 in annual revenue. On the other hand, opponents propose an increase to 5% for all residents. Under that proposal, the city would collect only an additional $600,000 in revenue annually, falling far short of the funds La Verne needs to maintain services at the level we now enjoy and expect.

It is fiscally irresponsible to wait until a November ballot to determine this issue. First, a special election would cost the city an additional $50,000 to conduct and second, the delay would cause the city to spend more reserve funds until 2006.

Measure S is fiscally responsible, fair, and sensitive. Keep La Verne safe and financially healthy.


s/ Jon Blickenstaff, Mayor

s/ Jose M. Ayala, President - La Verne City Employees Association

s/ Cory D. Leeper, President - La Verne Police Officers Association

s/ Leonard D. Kilman, President - La Verne Firefighters Association

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Created: March 29, 2005 12:43 PST
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