BY DONNA WESTFALL
The short answer is that a referendum can reverse the latest sewer rate hike. Once the referendum qualifies for the ballot and voted out, the City Council cannot raise sewer rates for another year.
Let’s backtrack and recite some of the charges connected to the sewer system starting with the Del Norte County property tax bill. On a duplex located in the county with a net taxable value of $ 84,000; listed on the tax bill are 2 charges: 1.) CSA1 AD3 Sewer Assessment at $74.91 a year. There’s a phone # next to the assessment (707) 464 7229 and if you call that number you can reach Mary Jo Duncan. She will tell you that this assessment will be paid off in September 2018. Then, there’s a second amount for $72.00. That’s for CSA 1 ADS Sewer User Fee for $72.00 year. This never goes away.
Right off the bat, that’s nearly $150/year or $12.50/month which wouldn’t be too bad if it weren’t for the increase in rates the last 7 years. Normal monthly charges for water/sewer averages $136. Add $12.50 to that and it’s nearly $150/month for just water/sewer at a duplex. That’s just one example. Fees for businesses are even higher.
Who Can Sign The Referendum?
Only registered voters that live within the Crescent City limits can sign. If you’re not currently registered to vote, it takes about 2 minutes to get you registered. If you don’t know whether or not you live within the city limits, the easy way to remember is that all alphabet streets and numbered streets are in the City. A good portion on both sides of “A” Street over to Pacific. Then, there’s a portion bordered by Northcrest on one side and Washington on the other side, up to El Dorado St . Streets including Harding, Oregon, California, Marshall, Oroville, Breen, Mason Ct.,Lincoln Ct., Truman Ct, Brevus St, Grant Ave and Grant Ct., Hoover, and Coolidge are all City.
All the rest is County.
How Many Signatures Are Needed?
167 valid signatures. However, signature gatherers know to collect at least twice or three times as many because the person responsible for validating the signatures is either our City Clerk, Robin Patch, or the County Clerk, Alissia Northrup. They have final say on who’s signature gets counted as valid. It can be a very subjective opinion since rarely do signatures look identical to their voters registration card. Particularly when the card may have been signed 20 or 30 years prior.
In the past, complaints have been lodged with the Secretary of State because in previous recalls Mrs. Northrup had eliminated almost 50% of the signatures. One in particular was Ken Towe because of she didn’t believe his “T” and thought someone else may have signed. Even though he went down and complained face to face, she wouldn’t change her mind.
When Will The Signatures Be Turned In?
By law, signatures on the referendum can be collected for 30 days starting the day after the Ordinance went into effect. The ordinance went into effect July 2nd. Signature gathering was started on July 3rd and will continue throughout the month. Plans are to turn all the referendums in on August 1st or before.
Who Can Collect Signatures?
* Any US citizen.
* Anyone 18 years or older.
* A resident of California.
* Not be in prison or on parole for a conviction with a felony.
Signature gatherers can be volunteers or paid. Signers have the right to ask.
Who Will Pay Signature Gatherers?
The newly formed Crescent City-Del Norte County Taxpayers Association will pay signature gatherers if there are not enough volunteers.
Where Will The Referendum Be Available For Signature?
Depending upon volunteers schedules: ** Check back on a daily basis to see if a table will be set up.
At 937 J Street next to the Liquor Store on 9th.
** At the Water Department located at 377 J St
** At the Post Office.
** Outside the Library.
** At Wendy’s Salon; 934 4th Street.