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March 7, 2017 — Local Elections
Ballot and voting information for Los Angeles County.
This is an archive of a past election.

Continue Tax on City Parcels to Fund Fire & Paramedic ServicesOrdinance

Local
March 7, 2017Local Elections

City of Palos Verdes Estates
Measure D Ordinance - 2/3 Approval Required

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Election Results

Failed

2,198 votes yes (59.92%)

1,470 votes no (40.08%)

  • 100% of precincts reporting (4/4).

Shall an ordinance be adopted that continues a levy of the existing special tax for a period of twelve (12) years on each eligible parcel in the City at the initial base rate of $342.34 plus $0.196073 per square foot of building improvement effective July 1, 2017, and maintains the existing 6.2% limit on annual adjustments, initially generating approximately $4.7 million annually to finance fire suppression and paramedic services?

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Measure D was placed on the ballot by the City Council and proposes a special tax to fund fire suppression and paramedic services provided to the City of Palos Verdes Estates. Measure D requires approval of two-thirds of the votes cast to be adopted.

Consolidated Fire Protection District of Los Angeles County currently provides fire suppression and paramedic services under an agreement with the City. The City’s costs incurred under that agreement are currently paid with proceeds from a special tax approved by the voters in 2007. The 2007 tax measure expires June 30, 2017. The proposed special tax would begin upon the existing tax’s expiration (July 1, 2017) and would continue for twelve years, through fiscal year 2028-2029.

The methodology of the proposed tax is the same as the current tax. For fiscal year 2017-2018, the tax will be determined by adding $342.34 per lot (“Base Amount”) to $0.196073 for each square foot of building improvements on the property as of January 1, 2016 (“Improvement Amount”). For each fiscal year thereafter, the City Council may increase or decrease the combined Base Amount and Improvement Amount up to 6.2%. An increase may not exceed the increase in the City's cost under the Fire District agreement as long as that agreement is still in effect.

The tax will be imposed on each parcel of property within the City, except those otherwise exempt from property taxes. The procedures for its collection are the same as for the other charges and taxes collected by the County of Los Angeles on behalf of the City.

Revenue from the special tax will go into a special account and the City is required to prepare annual reports regarding the amounts collected and spent. If the Fire District agreement terminates, the City may use the tax revenue to provide for an equivalent level of fire suppression and paramedic services through other means.

Any unexpended revenue from special tax may be used to lower the next year's tax (if any) or be returned to the taxpayers on the same pro rata basis as originally levied.

If approved, Measure D may be amended or repealed only by approval of two-thirds of the voters casting ballots on such amendment or repealed at a duly called initiative or referendum election.

A “yes” vote on Measure D favors levying the special tax for fire suppression and paramedic services.

A “no” vote on Measure D opposes levying the special tax for fire suppression and paramedic services.

Christi Hogin, City Attorney

— City Attorney for City of Palos Verdes

Arguments FOR

Fire and paramedic protection in Palos Verdes Estates needs your "YES" vote.

For the past 25 years, fire/paramedic services have been paid for through a special parcel tax. Most recently, 87% of the City's voters approved the tax in 2007. This current tax expires on June 30, 2017.

The City Council appointed a Citizens Committee to explore financing options for our fire/paramedic services. The Committee unanimously recommended continuation of the special tax as the most efficient and cost-effective means to fund these services. The City Council approved it unanimously.

Voting "YES" raises money that can ONLY be used to cover the cost of the contract with LA County Fire District to fund our fire/paramedic services. A "NO" vote will threaten these essential services and could significantly increase your home insurance costs.

If this measure does not pass, the City will have to pay approximately $2.5 million from its reserve account to fund fire/paramedic services for the remainder of 2017.

This special tax will continue the same key features:

-Can only be used for fire/paramedic services and is subject to annual reviews and audits.

-Will appear on your property tax bill.

-Includes a basic charge for all parcels, including vacant lots, plus a charge for each square foot of living area.

-Caps the maximum increase in any given year at 6.2% to cover increases, if any, in contract costs with LA County Fire District. The average annual increase over the past 10 years is 3.35%.

-Has a sunset clause and expires in 2029, but can be amended or repealed at a duly called initiative or referendum election at any time.

Please join us in voting "YES" to continue these essential services!

JENNIFER L. KING
Mayor

RONALD L. BUSS
Chairman

TOM CONNAGHAN

HELAINE LOPES

ELLEN PERKINS

— http://www.pvestates.org/government/city-clerk/elections

Arguments AGAINST

Extending the Fire contract for 12 years, and allowing a 6.2% annual increase, is a horrible idea. Contracting with the County for fire services is an excellent idea.

REJECT THIS UNNECESSARY TAX! Send it back to the drawing board! EVERY other city in Palos Verdes has fire costs included in their base 1% property tax (Proposition 13). Only in PVE do we pay then pay AGAIN and AGAIN!

The City had 30 years to figure out how to live within its resources. We have given them enough time! NO OTHER CITY IN PALOS VERDES OR CALIFORNIA PAYS THIS TAX! And the other PV cities all balance their annual budgets. Terminate this tax no one else pays! Perform a real OBJECTIVE comprehensive analysis of the City's budget. At this point, it cannot be changed — only terminated. Let them use their reserves - bring back a revised tax to us — soon!

Long ago PVE had a local Fire Department so now, PVE gets about twice the property tax revenue than other PV cities. This 'extra revenue' SHOULD BE used to partially fund the Fire contract. This will significantly lower the tax. With good management, the (new and revised) tax will 'sunset' in about 5 years. Property tax revenues are skyrocketing (8.44% per year)! — It SHOULD BE used for the funding the fire contract!

Don't ask for a fire tax then tell us it is 'REALLY for streets' or that it is 'REALLY for parkland' or that it is 'REALLY for police!'

The residents are adults: If the City NEEDS money then document the need and ASK us for more! No one is against having the best and highest levels of service. BUT WE SHOULD DECIDE what additional services we want and how much extra WE should pay not self-serving bureaucrats!
JAMES R. NYMAN

— http://www.pvestates.org/government/city-clerk/elections

Replies to Arguments FOR

I authored this tax about 25 years ago —TRUST ME! We planned it as TEMPORARY. NO other property owner in PV or California pays this EXTRA TAX.

Other cities All fund this from the REGULAR property taxes (1% -Prop 13). Why should we be the only taxpayers who pay this tax?

Our elected officials had ample time to reduce/eliminate this tax that no one else pays. They will never end it! NEVER!! I have lost patience!

In 2007 only 23% of eligible voters voted —13% voted no- This was with NO opposition!

The Citizen's Committee were not here 25 years ago — they voted to extend the tax as the easiest option!

Please consider these items:

-     The City's reserves will cover this tax AND MORE for years, providing ample time to study options without ANY service reductions. Your insurance premium will NOT CHANGE. Fire and Paramedic will stay!

-     The formula is not audited: according to the Auditor formula is provided by the City!

-     Average increase was 3.35% then why charge 6.2% annually as the new increase? TRUST THEM — 6.2% maximum means that is what we can pay!

-     12 years is too long!

-     They will never amend it —haven't in the past — won't in the future.

The Fire Contract is completely unrelated to home size! It Funds 5 Firefighters and their equipment — PERIOD!

Send this back to the drawing board!

Ask anyone in ANY other City NO ONE else pays this parcel tax!

PLEASE Vote it down!

JAMES R. NYMAN
"Resident of PVE"

— http://www.pvestates.org/government/city-clerk/elections

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

No one likes or wants to pay taxes. We often wonder where our dollars go and how they are used. Not so with Measure D.

Unlike general taxes, Measure ID explicitly mandates that ALL money generated provides a critical safety net of fire/paramedic services for our community. Measure D adds no new taxes; it maintains a current funding source to ensure we continue to enjoy the benefits of our excellent fire/paramedic services. For 30 uninterrupted years, Palos Verdes Estates has funded fire/paramedic services through similar measures. At any time, we can reexamine whether the services we receive justify maintaining this modest incremental cost.

Measure D's opponent asks you to eliminate funding for these critical services to be more like "other cities" in California. But we choose to make Palos Verdes Estates our home for clear reasons: beautiful neighborhoods, some of the best schools in the state and great neighbors who care about our community. And unlike many of our neighboring cities, we feel safe and secure in our homes because we have emergency services that are singularly focused on the needs of our community. Measure D allows us to maintain that current level of comfort and security.

Please keep in mind:

(1)        This special tax is ONLY for fire/paramedic services—not for "streets, parklands, or police" as the opponent suggests,

(2)        The average annual increase of fire/paramedic services over the past 10 years has been a modest 3.35%,

(3)        Measure D requires annual reviews/audits from an independent auditor. Vote YES on Measure D.

RONALD L. BUSS
Chairman

MICHAEL THOMAS
Chairman - Planning Commission

ROSEMARY HUMPHREY
Former Mayor & Councilmember

EDWARD BARRIOS

ELLEN PERKINS

— http://www.pvestates.org/government/city-clerk/elections

Proposed legislation

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF PALOS VERDES ESTATES, CALIFORNIA,
LEVYING A FIRE AND PARAMEDIC SERVICES SPECIAL TAX AND INCREASING
THE CITY OF PALOS VERDES ESTATES SPENDING LIMITS PURSUANT TO ARTICLE
XIIIB OF THE CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION BY THE AUTHORIZED AMOUNT OF
FIRE AND PARAMEDIC SERVICES SPECIAL TAX

The People of the City of Palos Verdes Estates hereby ordain as follows:

SECTION 1. Imposition of Tax.

Pursuant to the provisions of Article 3.7 of Chapter 4 of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code (Sections 53720-53730) and the California Constitution, - Articles XIII A, Section 4 and XIII D, Section 3(a)(2), there is hereby levied and assessed a Fire and Paramedic Services Special Tax, as defined in California Government Code §5372I, by the City of Palos Verdes Estates for each of the twelve fiscal years commencing with fiscal year 2017-2018 and ending with fiscal year 2028-2029. For purposes of this ordinance a "parcel of property" shall mean any contiguous unit of improved or unimproved real property held in separate ownership, including, but not limited to any vacant property, commercial property, single family residency, any condominium unit as defined in California Civil Code §783, or any other unit of real property subject to the California Subdivided Lands Act (Business and Professions Code §§110000 et seq.).

SECTION 2. Use of Revenue.

(a)                The sole purpose of this ordinance is to raise revenues for obtaining, providing, operating, and maintaining fire suppression and paramedic services and equipment, for paying the salaries and benefits to firefighting and paramedic personnel, for such other necessary fire protection and prevention expenses and paramedic expenses of the City of Palos Verdes Estates as such services shall be made available throughout the entire City, and to pay the direct costs in levying this tax. In particular, as of the effective date of this ordinance, such services are provided to the City of Palos Verdes Estates by the Consolidated Fire Protection District of Los Angeles County (the — "Fire District") under that agreement entitled Amendment Number Two to the Annexation Agreement Between the City of Palos Verdes Estates and the Consolidated Fire Protection District of Los Angeles County (the —"Fire Services Agreement") and it is the purpose of this ordinance to raise revenue to pay all costs, charges, and fees of the City of Palos Verdes Estates under such Agreement while such agreement remains in effect, and to provide for an equivalent level of fire and paramedic services through other means should such Agreement terminate or expire.

(b)                   The proceeds from this ordinance shall be used only for the purposes identified in subsection (a) of this Section.

 

(a)                   Upon the effective date of this ordinance, the City Finance Director shall create a separate account into which all revenue raised by this ordinance shall be placed.

(b)                    The City Finance Director shall file a report with the City Council no later than January 1, 2018, and at least once a year thereafter which shall contain both of the following: (i) the amount of funds collected and expended under this ordinance; and (ii) the status of any project required or authorized to be funded to carry out the purposes set forth in subsection (a) of this Section 2.

SECTION 3. Calculation of Amount.

(c)                    The tax imposed by this ordinance shall be a tax upon each parcel of property and the tax shall not be measured by the value of the property.

(d)                    For fiscal year 2016-2017, the annual amount of the Fire and Paramedic Services Special Tax was determined for each parcel of property by calculating the following sum: (1) the amount of Three Hundred Twenty-Eight Dollars and Sixteen Cents ($328.16) (the — "Base Amount") for each lot within such parcel of property, plus (2) $0.187952 (the —"Improvement Amount") for each square foot of building improvements located on such parcel of property as of January 1, 2016.

 

(e)                     For each fiscal year after fiscal year2016-2017, the maximum annual amount of the Fire and Paramedic Services Special Tax for each parcel of property shall be determined by adding the Base Amount for each lot within such parcel of property to the Improvement Amount multiplied by the number of square feet of building improvements, as such lots and improvements exist as of January 1 of the fiscal year preceding that fiscal year.

(f)                      In each fiscal year beginning with fiscal year 2017-2018, the City Council, by at least three (3) affirmative votes, may increase or decrease the combined Base Amount and Improvement Amount. Any such increase shall not exceed Six and Two Tenths Percent (6.2%) for such Amount established in the previous fiscal year.

(g)                      Notwithstanding the authority provided herein for an increase in rates, at all times that the Fire Services Agreement remains in effect, the percentage increase in the tax in any fiscal year to the next shall not exceed the percentage increase in the amount to be paid by the City of Palos Verdes Estates to the Fire District under such Fire Services Agreement for such fiscal year.

SECTION 4. Determination of Lots and Building Improvements. The records of the City of Palos Verdes Estates shall be utilized to determine the number of lots within any parcel of property. The records of the Los Angeles County Assessor shall be used to determine the amount of building improvement located on a parcel of property, provided, however, that the records of the City of Palos Verdes Estates Building Department may be utilized as necessary should there be a discrepancy between the records of the Los Angeles County Assessor and the actual amount of building improvement on a parcel of property.

 

SECTION 5. Exempt Property. The Fire and Paramedic Services Special Tax shall not be imposed upon a federal or state governmental agency, any local public agency, or any parcel of property which is exempt from ad valorem taxes by any other applicable law.

SECTION 6. Time and Method of Payment of Special Tax.

(h)                   The Fire and Paramedic Services Special Tax shall be due in two equal installments in accordance with the collection procedures of the Los Angeles County Tax Collector, and shall be collected in the same manner, subject to the same penalties and interest, and on the same applicable dates as established by law for the due dates for the other charges and taxes fixed and collected by the County of Los Angeles on behalf of the City of Palos Verdes Estates. The County of Los Angeles may deduct its reasonable costs incurred for such services before remittal of the balance to the City of Palos Verdes Estates.

(i)                    The Fire and Paramedic Services Special Tax, together with all penalties and interest thereon, shall constitute alien upon the parcel of property upon which it is levied until it has been paid, and said special tax, together with all penalties and interest thereon, shall until paid, constitute a personal obligation to the City of Palos Verdes Estates by the person(s) who own the parcel of property on the date said special tax is due.

SECTION 7. Administration of Tax. The City Council by not less than three (3) affirmative votes, is empowered:

(j)                    To establish the amount of the Fire and Paramedic Services Special Tax levy annually each fiscal year in amounts not to exceed the maximum amounts specified in Section 3 of this ordinance as is required to provide an adequate level of fire and paramedic services in the City in accord with the purposes set forth in this ordinance;

(k)                    To sit as a Board of Equalization under procedures to be adopted by the City Council to equalize inequities and reduce hardships created by the literal application of this ordinance, and such shall be deemed an administrative remedy;

(l)                     To annually provide an official Assessment Book designating the actual tax levy on each parcel of property and to place the same on file in the office of the City Clerk. In connection therewith, in those instances where building improvements are located on more than one lot within a parcel of property, the City Council may designate a single one of such lots as the lot upon which such building improvements shall be considered to be located for purposes of administering this ordinance;

 

(d)                   To amend this ordinance as necessary to permit the Los Angeles County Tax Collector or any other duly designated public official to collect a special tax such as is levied by this ordinance in conjunction with other County taxes, or in order to assign duties established by this ordinance to other officers as otherwise permitted by law, or to modify procedures required by this ordinance, for the sole purpose of levying and/or collecting a special tax in an amount not to exceed that permitted by Section 3 of this ordinance to be used solely for the purposes permitted by Section 2 of this ordinance.

SECTION 8. Appropriations Limit Increase. Pursuant to Article XIII B of the California Constitution, the appropriations limit for the City of Palos Verdes Estates shall be increased by the maximum projected aggregate collection authorized by levy of this Fire and Paramedic Services Special Tax, as determined by Section 3 of this ordinance, in each of the years in which this ordinance remains in effect.

SECTION 9. Unexpended Revenue. The unexpended residue of any money raised by the City under this ordinance may only be (i) used in the succeeding year for the purposes stated in this ordinance by lowering the next year's tax by the amount unexpended, or (ii) returned to the taxpayers on the same pro rata basis as originally levied.

SECTION 10. Severance Provisions. If any provision(s) of this ordinance or the application thereof to any person is held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity or unconstitutionality shall not affect any other provision or application, and to this end, the provisions of this ordinance are declared to be severable. The City Council and the electorate by referendum do hereby declare that they would have adopted this ordinance and each section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, part or portion thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, clauses, phrases, parts or portions thereof be declared invalid or unconstitutional.

SECTION 11. Effective Date; Expiration. If this ordinance is approved by at least two-thirds of those voters casting ballots on the measure at the election, then this ordinance shall become effective ten (10) days following the date the vote is declared by the City Council in accordance with Elections Code §9217. This ordinance will expire twelve (12) years after the Effective Date, provided, however, that the provisions of this ordinance relating to the collection of the fire and paramedic services special tax and/or the enforcement of any liens for a tax imposed hereunder (for fiscal years 2017-2018 through 2028-2029) have been completed.

SECTION 12. Amendment or Repeal. Notwithstanding the City Council's authority as provided in Section 3(d), upon becoming effective, this ordinance may only be amended or repealed by approval of two-thirds of the voters casting ballots on such amendment or repealed at a duly called initiative or referendum election.

 

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