By Donna Westfall – August 12, 2016 – First a note: I started www.crescentcitytimes.com because the local newspaper was not reporting the news accurately, fairly or honestly….. in my opinion. People in this town deserved to know more if they cared to read another side.
I started the Crescent City-Del Norte County Taxpayers Association because there were numerous tax related issues that couldn’t be adequately dealt with simply by writing about them.
When the Board of Directors of the tax association decided to vote on the 20% sewer rate increase, there was lively discussion before a vote was taken.
Naturally we all want to see sewer rates go down. But, it wouldn’t go down for everyone. And it wouldn’t stay down for very long for those single family households. Even with the elimination of all interest, and a graduated repayment plan for the next four years, the City still had to raise rates.
And then there’s the problem of expansion which ratepayers are NOT responsible for paying.
Herein is the rebuttal to the City’s argument prepared by the tax association:
City Hall made an important decision about our financial health by indebting our community to a $43.8 million dollar loan on a sewer system that was primarily expansion, while disregarding that nearly 60% of those who live here are at or below poverty level.
Under Proposition 218, developers are required to pay for expansion. The City of Crescent City maneuvered the expansion component in a manner to burden rate payers with repayment of the $43.8 million dollar loan, while giving developers a considerable financial break. The City did so by promoting a false expansion component of 11.8%. Substantial evidence exists which places 70% as a more accurate expansion component. When the City was called upon to substantiate its 11.8% expansion component, the City reported they had destroyed all documents dealing with the expansion component.
An equitable rate structure would have had developers, such as our previous Public Works Director (and major developer) Jim Barnts, paying for the expansion portion of the overpriced plant. While rates are being maneuvered to bring financial advantage to developers, other aspects of our community suffer as we lose more businesses, families and retirees when our already doubled sewer bill goes yet higher.
Voting yes on Measure Q will only help the City cover its fraud. The Crescent City/Del Norte County Taxpayers Association calls the City on the municipal fraud perpetrated against the public and asks you to please vote NO on Measure Q. Enough is enough.
VOTE NO ON MEASURE Q!