Taxing district in California assesses tax even though ballot measure lost
KEYES, California: The Keyes Community Services District in Keyes, California, has been charging residents a streetlight assessment since January 2009 that it is not allowed to charge. On June 3, 2008, district voters rejected Measure P. Measure P needed a 2/3rds vote to pass. More than a majority voted for Measure P, but the vote did not reach the required 2/3rds for victory.
However, the district's board did not realize that in order to pass, Measure P required a 2/3rds supermajority. Rosemary Winter, secretary to the board of directors of the Keyes Community Services District, explained that the district went ahead and imposed the tax, even though it lost, because the district thought it only needed a simple majority vote to pass. "We were under the impression it was 50 (percent) plus 1," she told a local newspaper.
As of July 2009, the district has assessed taxes of about $18,000 over what it is legally entitled to charge. The district started charging at the higher, illegal, rate in January 2009. Of the $18,000 it has billed at the disallowed higher rate, about $10,000 has been paid.