Sacramento Rollback of Sewer and Water Rate, Measure B (November 2010)
The Utilities Rate Hike Rollback Act of 2010, if voters had approved it, would have:
- Stopped a 9.2% city utilities rate hike that went into effect on July 1, 2010. The rate hike was approved by the Sacramento City Council in 2009.
- Required that future hikes in utility rates be tied to the Consumer Price Index.
- Mandated that if the city council wants to increase utility rates faster than growth in the Consumer Price Index would allow, the city council must put those rate hikes to a vote of the people.
Sacramento's utility department increased utility rates in the city by 1,321% from 2006-2009.
Election results are from the Sacramento County elections division as of November 24, 2010.
Grand Jury report
In a report issued on January 6, 2010, the Sacramento County Grand Jury said that the City of Sacramento may have gone beyond what is allowed by California Proposition 218 in its use of utility taxes.
Specifically, the grand jury says that funds collected through taxes on utility bills may have gone to fund city expenses other than the cost of delivering utilities.
Supporters of rate rollback
The Sacramento County Taxpayers League and the Campaign for Common Sense Utilities Rates were the main organizers of the effort to rollback the city's utility rate hike.
The campaign against Measure B was led by Kevin McCarty and Steve Cohn, who are members of the Sacramento City Council.
McCarty said, "“We don’t think (Measure B) is a good idea for the city of Sacramento. The bottom line is, it’s going to blow a big hole in our budget."
Text of measure
The question on the ballot:
| Measure B: Shall the ordinance repealing increases in monthly water, sewer, and garbage collection/solid waste disposal
service rates approved by the Sacramento City Council in June 2009, setting these monthly utility service rates at the amounts in effect on February 10, 2010, and allowing the City Council to increase these rates without voter approval beginning July 2012 only if the rates are not increased above the annual increase in a specified consumer price index, be adopted?”
Path to the ballot
Approximately 8,700 signatures were submitted to election officials to qualify the measure for the ballot, versus a requirement of 5,420 signatures to qualify this initiated city ordinance for the ballot.
- Full text of Measure B
- Runaway Utilities Rate Increases, a main website advocating in favor of the rollback
- Full text of the initiative
- Sacramento Press, "Ballot measure to halt utilities rate hike sparks debate", July 8, 2010
- California Watchdog, "Will initiative spur sewage spill?", May 25, 2010
- Sacramento Press, "Debate over utilities funds rages on", March 23, 2010
- Sacramento Press, "McCarty, Cohn lead campaign against utilities rollback measure", September 28, 2010
- " City Utilities Rate Rollback Initiative Heads for the November Ballot"