Editor: In November 1996, California voters passed Proposition 218, the “Right to Vote on Taxes Act.” This constitutional amendment protects taxpayers by limiting the methods by which local governments can create or increase taxes, fees and charges without taxpayer consent. Proposition 218 requires voter approval prior to imposition or increase of general taxes, assessments, and certain user fees. Proposition 218 also gives voters the power to reduce or repeal any existing local tax, assessment or charge through the initiative process.
The Town of Discovery Bay CSD Board has not complied with Proposition 218 in the years 2006 through 2018 for water and wastewater rate increases. Proposition 218 clearly states that property owners should receive a notice of a proposed charge with an enclosed ballot not less than 45 days prior to a public hearing. At the public hearing, ballots are counted, and protests are heard. The proposed charge is either approved or denied based on the property owner’s two-thirds ballot count. To date, notification has not been received for the proposed 2019 water and wastewater rate increases.
The Town of Discovery Bay CSD Board established the Discovery Bay Public Financing Authority in June 2012. This allows the Town of Discovery Bay CSD board to issue revenue bonds without a vote of the property owners. In 2012, they issued a $14.1 million-dollar revenue bond, and in 2017, they issued an $8.9 million-dollar revenue bond. Discovery Bay property owners are burdened with bond payback until 2047.
Without the right to vote, this is taxation without representation.
Frank J. Visintin