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Utility Rate Roll Back
City of Sacramento
Majority Approval Required
Fail: 35,674 / 30.99% Yes votes ...... 79,446 / 69.01% No votes
Index of all Measures
|Results as of Jan 3 10:57am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (355/355)|
|Information shown below: Official Information | Impartial Analysis | Arguments ||
Shall the ordinance repealing increases in monthly water, sewer, and garbage collection/solid waste disposal service rates approved by the Sacramento City Council in June 2009, setting these monthly utility service rates at the amounts in effect on February 10, 2010, and allowing the City Council to increase these rates without voter approval beginning July 2012 only if the rates are not increased above the annual increase in a specified consumer price index, be adopted?
13.04.720, 13.08.400, and 13.10.130 of the Sacramento City Code. These sections authorize the Sacramento City Council to set monthly rates for water, sewer, and garbage collection service (the "subject utility rates"). Measure B would amend these City Code sections to repeal increases in the subject utility rates that the City Council approved in June 2009, and that took effect on July 1, 2010. If Measure B is enacted, the repeal of these rate increases would take effect July 1, 2011, so that on and after July 1, 2011, the subject utility rates would be set at the rates in effect on February 10, 2010. In addition, Measure B allows the City Council to increase the subject utility rates beginning on and after July 1, 2012, but limits any such increases to the annual increase in a specified consumer price index, unless approved by the voters.
Current law requires the subject utility rates to be calculated based on the City of Sacramento's costs of providing the utility services. These costs include operation and maintenance costs (such as fuel, utilities, chemicals, and labor); costs to repair, replace, or improve utility infrastructure; and costs to comply with applicable regulatory and other governmental requirements. By reducing the subject utility rates to the rates in effect on February 10, 2010, the operation of Measure B would reduce the rate revenues available to fund these costs.
In addition to the cost-of-service limitation described above, current law requires the City to follow specified notice, protest, and public hearing procedures prior to the City Council's approval of increases in the subject utility rates, but does not require voter approval of those increases. Measure B would impose a new limitation on the City's ability to increase the subject utility rates, by requiring voter approval for rate increases that exceed the annual increase in the consumer price index specified in Measure B.
A "yes" vote is in favor of enacting the ordinance rolling back the subject utility rates and preventing the City Council from adopting future rate increases that exceed the annual increase in a specified consumer price index unless approved by the voters.
A "no" vote is against enacting the ordinance, and would leave unchanged the subject utility rates and the City's current rate setting authority. A majority of "yes" votes is required for the ordinance to be enacted.
Eileen M. Teichert
|Arguments For Measure B||Arguments Against Measure B|
|Sacramentans have been hit hard by the recession. Our City
Council, however, has ignored the plight of residents by raising
utility rates by 20% in real terms over the past year. Since 2007,
rate hikes have exceeded inflation by 1300%. These regressive
hikes hurt low and moderate income Sacramentans the most,
especially seniors on fixed incomes. We now have the highest utility
rates of any city in our region, hurting our ability to attract
employers, create jobs, save struggling businesses and recover
from the recession.
Measure B will rollback the 9.2% rate hike that hit residents this July and place a check on the Council's unlimited power to raise rates. The Council will be allowed to increase rates to match increases in the consumer price index, preserving the purchasing power of the utilities department's budget. But if the council wishes to raise rates above inflation, it will have to make the case to voters that a major hike is warranted, putting Sacramentans back in charge of city utilities.
The city is notorious in the many ways it wastes ratepayer money. It now trucks all city garbage every night over the Sierras to a landfill near Reno, an enormous expense and environmental impact, instead of negotiating a contract with county government to place garbage at the nearby county landfill.
The grand jury recently found that managers had illegally diverted $21 million of utilities funds and then tried to cover it up. Incredibly, the Council took no action to remove or discipline those involved and failed to order an independent investigation of the matter.
The department lacks external budget discipline and fiscal oversight. Measure B will impose budget discipline by placing city utilities on a "fiscal diet" so that the department once again serves the public, and not the other way around.
The hard reality is that the City of Sacramento cannot afford Measure B, and neither can its residents. Drastically rolling back rates won't make the mandate to provide water meters go away. It won't alleviate all the state and federal requirements the City must follow. All it will do is further deplete the City's General Fund and put all other services, including police and fire protection, in grave jeopardy. Measure B carries too high a price tag. Join us in voting no on Measure B.
|The City of Sacramento is in danger. In danger from declining revenues
in this deep recession. In danger of funding cuts from the
State of California. In danger because of Measure B, an ill-conceived
plan, hatched in secret with no public input.
Sacramento now enjoys the purest drinking water of all large California cities. Measure B will put our water quality at risk -- along with sewer services, garbage pickup, stormwater drainage, and recycling. Infrastructure maintenance and replacement of the City's hundred year old pipes will become impossible. Customer service will suffer significantly.
And that's not all. By immediately slashing $22 million from the City's Utilities Budget, Measure B will endanger other vital City services, including public safety. That's because, after the $22 million is taken away, the City still must comply with state and federal standards and mandates and meet its contractual obligations. If there isn't enough money in the Utilities Budget to meet those requirements, there will be no place to turn but the City's already depleted General Fund -- where utilities will have to compete with fire, police, and parks.
Public safety has already experienced drastic cuts. We've had brownouts of fire stations; the public counters at police stations have been closed; and the men and women who are responsible for protecting the people of Sacramento have lost many of the resources they once were able to depend upon. Any more cuts and public safety will be seriously jeopardized.
Everyone would like a little financial assistance during these troubled times, but the cost of Measure B carries too high a price for all Sacramentans, our communities, our neighborhoods, and our homes. Vote no on Measure B.
s/Ray S. Jones,
The Council hopes to distract voters by falsely claiming that Measure B will imperil public safety funding. It is not true. Measure B has nothing to do with funding for police and fire. Instead, it places our notoriously mismanaged city utilities department on a critically needed "fiscal diet" and gives Sacramento voters a say in future major rate hikes. It will also save the typical Sacramento homeowner $120 in its first year and a projected $4,300 over 10 years, while improving our business climate and attracting new jobs.
Measure B stops the Council's current practice of treating residents like a giant ATM machine with unlimited overdraft privileges. It does so by requiring that major rate hikes (above the inflation rate) be approved by voters. City voters have a long, responsible track record of approving appropriate tax hikes (i.e. utilities taxes) and rejecting unwarranted ones (i.e. arena taxes). Sacramento voters are not about to let city utilities fall into an abyss, as the Council would have you believe. Voters will, however, require city government to make the case for major rate hikes, providing crucial, independent oversight. Vote for responsible oversight, vote for jobs, vote "Yes" on Measure B.