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South Bay Digest

Rancho P.V. : Utility-Users Tax Weighed

February 06, 1986

The City Council has taken the first steps toward imposing a utility-users tax, citing a need for money to cover expected budget deficits of $350,000 a year and a five-year, $17-million capital improvement program.

The council this week directed the staff to prepare a tax ordinance for an informal public hearing at the Feb. 18 council meeting. There will be a formal hearing on March 4, and the council could give initial approval to the tax at that time.

City Manager Donald F. Guluzzy has proposed a 7% tax on telephone, water, electric and gas bills within the city. It would raise about $3.4 million a year, he said. The average family would pay $12.50 a month or $150 a year, and the average business $28 a month or $336 a year, city officials said. The yearly tab for the large Marineland aquatic park would be about $50,000, officials said. If the council approves the tax in March, collection could begin in July, Guluzzy said.

Guluzzy said the city has to raise more money or face a decline in facilities and services. More than half of the $17-million capital improvement program is for maintaining and improving streets and storm drains.

Anticipating public opposition, the city will send letters to homeowner associations and the Chamber of Commerce explaining the proposed tax. It also will be outlined in the city newsletter.

"We've proven to ourselves that we need the money, but I don't think we've proven it to the public," said Councilwoman Jacki Bacharach.

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