Measure E – Utility-users tax
To maintain and enhance Oakley’s essential city services, such as fire protection and emergency medical response services, shall an ordinance be adopted to enact a 3.5 percent utility-users tax (UUT) on electricity, water, sewer, gas and cable television, to raise approximately $2 million on an annual basis?
Measure E could provide much-needed funding to address the critical crisis with fire services in East Contra Costa County. Existing funding for the fire district is only able to operate three fire stations, covering 249 square miles, putting (people) in great danger. A recent master-plan analysis indicates that at least nine fire stations are needed in the district to provide a basic level of fire and emergency medical response services.
The current limitation of having only three stations has resulted in response times that are over 12 minutes. This is completely unacceptable, and more stations are needed to serve the community. The American Heart Association’s scientific position is that brain death and permanent death start to occur four to six minutes after someone experiences a heart attack. Studies show that a person’s chances of survival are reduced by 7 to 10 percent with every minute that passes without defibrillation and early-support intervention. Few attempts at resuscitation succeed after 10 minutes.
Against: (Contra Costa Taxpayers Association)
This measure purports to fund the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD), but does not even mention the district, nor does it bind or legally require the city to fund the ECCFPD. This regressive utility-user tax:
• Will impose an average household tax of $200 to $400 or more and a business tax of up to $1,000 or more annually.
• Is a general purpose ‘slush-fund’ tax for the City of Oakley, masked on the bills of the targeted utilities – cable television, electricity, gas, water and sewer.
• Will generate revenues that will be deposited into the City of Oakley’s general fund for any use the city determines is necessary for its own needs.
• Will not force the city to negotiate a promissory agreement with ECCFPD or annually fulfill its promise to fund the fire district; the fire district’s budget forecasts will be unreliable.
• Is designed to avoid the two-thirds vote requirement of other tax measures tried in the past by the ECCFPD, which failed.
• Will burden all residences, businesses, nonprofits and other types of organizations within the city, damaging the economy.
• Will be dependent on the city’s financial condition, and on the city council’s judgment and desire to satisfy its own perceived needs, before it funds the fire district.
Measure G – advisory vote only
If Measure E passes, should the revenues raised be used to restore and enhance fire and emergency medical response services in the City of Oakley?
For more information visit, https://goo.gl/pBJRkJ.
FOR: Vote yes on Advisory Measure G to ensure that all new revenues from Measure E will go toward restoring critical fire and emergency medical services to Oakley. (Meghan Bell, Oakley resident)
The life and safety of the community is at stake and fire and emergency medical services are the priority for these new revenues. Voice your opinion in support of the much-needed funding for your fire district by voting yes on Measure G.
AGAINST: The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association strongly recommends a no vote on this advisory measure because:
• The measure does not bind or legally require the City of Oakley to fund the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD).
• The UUT will have an average household tax between $200 and $400 and a business tax up to or exceeding $1,000 annually.
• By law, the revenues from this tax must go to the City of Oakley’s general fund, for use on any of the city’s perceived needs.
• Therefore, the fire district will have to depend on the judgment, financial condition and needs of the City of Oakley to annually transfer funds to the fire district.
• A city-utility tax will muddy the fiscal governance of the district, which has its own board.
• ECCFPD is perpetually underfunded due to the outdated property-tax allocation established in 1978, when the area was primarily rural. A more fair and equitable solution to the funding problem of the fire district has been proposed by a local community group. This reallocation should be completed before asking residents and businesses to pay any additional tax. If ECCFPD funding is still inadequate once reallocation is implemented,, CoCoTax will support any rational and affordable proposition that restores effective emergency response.