Oppose Proposed Unconstitutional Prop 218 East Contra Costa Fire Benefit Assessment Before August 4th
In 1996, voters approved Prop 218 “Right to Vote on Taxes Act.” Prop 218 requires a ballot to be mailed to property owners for all assessments and property related fees with the exception of water, sewer, and garbage rates. Street lighting assessments, storm water and urban runoff management assessments, etc., are all examples of a ballot that is mailed to voters. The ballot is weighted by the property size.
Prior to Prop 218, cities were attempting to pass police assessments. Police and fire services are a general benefit that should be paid for via taxes on all residents, not just assessments against homeowners. According to the drafter of Prop 218, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association said that the use of a benefit assessment rather than a special tax to fund fire suppression services constitutes a violation of article XIII D of the California Constitution (“Proposition 218”).
The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association opposes the use of benefit assessments by the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District or any other fire district. The fire district’s spiraling pension costs is forcing the district to cut fire service just to pay for its pension benefits. In addition, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District prepared for a parcel tax election for either June or Nov 2014. Polling suggested no support for a parcel tax. Then they decided for a benefit assessment.
Court cases have been litigated against Prop 218 fire district benefit assessments. Recently, the Sacramento Metro Fire District withdrew its proposed benefit assessment over litigation threats. The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District is ignoring previous court cases litigated against fire district Prop 218 benefit assessments.
The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board of Directors will meet on August 4th to consider approval of the Engineer’s Report and decide for a fire assessment. If the assessment is pursued, the fire assessment ballot will be mailed out to property owners on August 15, 2014 and there will be a public hearing on fire assessment and tabulation of ballots. It is essential that residents of Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Morgan Territory, and Bethel Island attend the August 4th meeting, 6:30pm, Oakley City Council Chambers, 3231 Main Street, Oakley, CA. to oppose the unconstitutional benefit assessment, and to contact the fire chief and board of directors to oppose the assessment.
The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District is facing future increases in pensions and salaries. The operating budget projections for 2013-2014 show that salaries/benefits are $9.4 million and will jump to $12.7 million in 2018-2019. Revenues in 2013-14 are $12.8 million and will remain at $10.1 million in 2018-2019. Spiraling pension costs is forcing the district to cut services to pay for pension benefits.
East County Fire Protection Budget and Other Financials: http://www.eccfpd.org/documents/financial/index.htm
Sacramento Bee Editorial: Metro Fire chief makes right choice to pull tax.
Sacrament Bee: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/05/15/6406421/taxpayer-group-plans-to-challenge.html
Contact the East County Fire Chief and Members of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board to Withdraw their Proposed Benefit Assessment Because it’s Unconstitutional:
Tel: (925) 240-2131
To Contact East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board Members:
East Contra Costa Fire Protection District
134 Oak Street
Brentwood, CA 94513
(925) 634-3400 - Phone
(925) 634-1423 - Fax
Chair - Joel Bryant - firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronald Johansen- email@example.com
Kevin Bouillon- firstname.lastname@example.org
Greg Cooper - email@example.com
Robert Kenny- firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan Michaelson- email@example.com
Cheryl Morgan - firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen Smith- email@example.com
Joe Young - firstname.lastname@example.org