City of Pleasant Hill Utility Users Tax, Measure T (November 2010)
Measure T, if voters had approved it, would have increased the taxes paid by residents of Pleasant Hill in two ways:
- It would have raised the utility tax from 1% to 1.5%.
- It would have applied that tax to additional services, including landline and cell phone service, cable, electricity, gas, water and sewer bills.
The current utility tax generates about $189,000 per year in revenues for the city. If Measure T had passed, the overall revenue generated by the city's newly expanded and increased utility taxation would have gone to about $1.2 million.
Results are from the Contra Costa County election results website, as of November 8, 2010. Vote totals may increase if additional absentee ballots are counted and added to the total.
Tim Flaherty supported Measure T. He serves on the city's planning and civic action commissions. Flaherty said, "The city is losing money. We're in the red for the next two budget years. (The city) is doing everything as far as I can tell to adjust costs. I think the opposition is saying it's not a good time. Well then, when is a good time? When we have to close City Hall for two days a week or furlough employees? Is that when we go forward and ask?"
From January 1-September 30, 2010, the "Yes on Measure T" campaign committee received donations totalling $10,099. Donors included:
- Allied Waste Services: $5,000
- The Professional and Confidential Employees Association: $2,500.
- he MacDonald Family Trust: $2,500 to the campaign.
- Kelly Calhoun, economic development manager for Pleasant Hill: $99.
Kevin Gregory opposed Measure T. Gregory said, ""For the city to come and in the middle of this ask to raise taxes people pay when they're trying to pay their mortgage, stay afloat and keep a job is the wrong thing to do. It seems to me that the city hasn't gone far enough to see how they can cut their own expenses before asking everyone else to pony up."
Other opponents of Measure T included the Pleasant Hill Taxpayers Association and Pleasant Hill Citizens for Responsible Growth.
Measure T opponents pointed to government employee salaries and benefits as being very generous, especially the city's contributions to retirement funds for city workers. In 2009, Pleasant Hill paid $840,000 to cover employees' CalPERS contributions.
Text of measure
The question on the ballot:
|To protect the quality of life in Pleasant Hill, provide stable funding the State cannot take away, and minimize cuts to general city services including rapid emergency response, police/neighborhood patrols, repairing potholes/roads and maintaining library hours, shall an ordinance be adopted expanding the City of Pleasant Hill’s existing utility users tax to additional utilities (described in the ballot pamphlet), capping the rate at 1.5%, providing specified exemptions/energy efficiency incentives and requiring that funds remain local?|
- Text of Measure T
- No Pleasant Hill Tax
- Local tax measures crowd ballot as voters asked to foot bill for budget crisis