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Smart Voter
Contra Costa County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Measure S
Utility Users Tax
City of Pinole

Majority Approval Required

Fail: 2761 / 44.76% Yes votes ...... 3408 / 55.24% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 30 11:25am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (17/17)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

To continue essential public services to the residents of Pinole, shall an ordinance be adopted to amend Section 3.26.180 of the Pinole Municipal Code to extend the existing Utility User Tax of eight percent for an additional eight years, until December 31, 2020 and to include a new utility users tax on water utility services at the existing tax rate?

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney
The City Council of the City of Pinole has placed Measure S on the November 2, 2010 ballot to ask voters to extend the existing Utility Users Tax ("UUT") for an additional eight years and to add water services as a taxable utility. Measure S would only become effective if approved by a simple majority of voters.

The UUT was originally approved by a vote of the people of Pinole in 1998 with an expiration date of December 1, 2004. The tax was set at eight percent (8%) of the cost of electric, gas, and telephone utility services. Utility service providers collect the tax as part of the monthly service bill to customers and remit the proceeds to the City. As a general tax, the revenue from the UUT is placed in the City's general fund and is available to support the provision of general municipal services. On November 2, 2004, Pinole voters extended the UUT eight years through December 1, 2012, at which time it would terminate automatically and without further action by either the City Council or the voters of Pinole.

The City Council placed this Measure S on the ballot for two reasons. First, to ask the voters to extend the existing UUT for an additional eight years, to December 31, 2020. Second, to add water service as a taxable utility. If approved, Measure S would amend the Municipal Code to substitute the new termination date of the UUT and include water as a taxable utility. All other aspects of the UUT would remain unchanged.

Currently, the UUT generates approximately $2,150,325 annually. This amount is approximately 19% of the City's general fund. The proposed addition of water service as a taxable utility is estimated to generate an additional $178,000 annually, and a total of $1,424,000 to the City's general fund over eight years. If the tax is not approved by the voters, the City would have to implement immediate reductions in general municipal services.
By placing Measure S on the ballot, the City complies with Article XIIIC of the California Constitution (adopted by Proposition 218), which requires the voters to approve an amended ordinance which affects amount of the tax, the manner of collection, and other related matters. The proposed modifications to the ordinance are printed in the sample ballot. The full text of the proposed ordinance is available at the Pinole City Clerk's office.

The UUT extension proposed in Measure S will not become effective unless the Measure is approved by at least a majority of those voting on the Measure.

DATED: July 8, 2010

Benjamin T. Reyes II

City Attorney, City of Pinole

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure S. If you desire a copy of the full text of the measure, please call the City Clerk's office at 510-724-9018 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you. You may also access the full text of the measure on the city website at the following website address:

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Arguments For Measure S
The City of Pinole established the Utility Users Tax (UUT) in 1998. In 2004, it was successfully renewed by the voters for 8 years, setting it to expire on December 1, 2012.

Measure S calls for a renewal of the current 8% tax on electricity, gas, and telephone utility service, and adds water service to the list. The UUT generates approximately $2 million per year, after providing an exemption for those households participating in the PG&E CARE program. We anticipate another $175,000 per year by adding water service. These funds are audited annually and presented to the City Council and public for review and comment.

By law, this is not a specific purpose tax. It is used to finance General Fund city services that are highly desired by our citizens such as public safety, recreation, and public works. Historically, the City spent UUT monies to support Pinole Police and Fire operations, the Swim Center, Youth Center, Senior Center, and street repairs.

With the State continuing to take local revenues, and 15 to 20% losses in annual sales and property taxes, the City has reduced expenditures by $4 million dollars. This caused a reduction in services, including Police and Fire. In order to retain valued services we have no choice but to preserve our local funding sources. We no longer have the luxury of a General Fund Reserve, so every dollar is scrutinized to assure it is spent in the best interest of the taxpayer.

The UUT provides essential, unrestricted funding. Without it, the City would have to eliminate services and that would be disastrous. Measure S will protect Pinole's community values by providing a well balanced level of service in the most cost-efficient manner.

Please join us in voting YES on Measure S.

William Miller,

Tom Cutino, Sr.

Debbie Ojeda

Roy V. Swearingen

Jerry L. Cates

(No arguments against Measure S were submitted)

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