By Donna Westfall – January 25, 2016 –
Heather Murphy, Coordinator of the signature gathering for the Crescent City-Del Norte County Taxpayers Association says, “There seems to be some confusion as to who can sign to protest the 20% sewer rate increase proposed by the City of Crescent City after being in default on the $44 million loan in 2014, and successfully getting all interest eliminated.”
Per Proposition 218, part of the California Constitution; if 50% plus 1 of the 3,427 ratepayers sign to protest then the increase is defeated. That equals 1,715 signatures. There are only two possible parties that can sign:
- An OWNER can sign for each of their properties, or
- A TENANT can sign if their name is on the sewer bill.
Simple? Yes, it is. One multi-residential property owner handed in more than 40 protests, another more than 20 and another more than 15, along with restaurants and businesses already feeling the pinch due to the poor economy.
What happens if both the owner and the tenant sign. Only one protest letter will be considered valid. The duplicate will be disqualified.
How and where can you sign?
By going to:
- Crescent City Water Department located at 377 J Street between 8:30 am-noon and 1 pm to 4:30 pm. Someone will be at a table with protest letters available. Heather says, “It’s the perfect spot because ratepayers come out annoyed at such a high sewer bill, and they have their paid receipt with their account number on it. It takes 1 minutes to sign a protest letter. With an account number it eliminates much of the time consuming process of verification.”
Heather says, “I’m lining up people to also be at the Post Office every day, located on the corner of 2nd and H Streets. We’ve had people at WalMart over the weekend but, apparently a older man shopping there identified himself as an officer of the law and thought it was OK to harass one of the young signature gatherers, an unfortunate incident that we hope won’t happen again.”
There are three weeks left to turn in the 1,715 signatures needed to stop the increase in sewer rates. Heather adds, “We’re on target to defeat this rate increase. The 40 signatures per day are coming in steadily. But, we could use more help. A lot of people still don’t know about the rate increase or the protest. A lot of people don’t believe the rate increase can be stopped even if we have enough valid signatures. It’s sad that so many people don’t trust the City government.”
For your convenience, print out the attached blank protest letter. Be sure to sign in blue ink. Contact numbers are located on the protest letter for pick-up and drop off. Each weekday morning, signed protest letters are taken to the City Water Department. There they are date stamped. The originals are kept by the City. The duplicates are kept by the local Tax Association in the event a lawsuit would need to be filed should the City be less than honest about counting the protests accurately.