The Board of Directors has approved utility tax increases to help finance a budget for the next fiscal year of more than $212 million, an increase of $12 million over the fiscal year that ends this month.
The budget will give the Police Department eight new officers, raising its total strength to 219. It also provides $200,000 to create a new office of assistant city manager for human services.
The board voted to raise the utility tax on water, power and gas for residential customers to the rate currently paid by commercial users. The action abolishes a rate differential established in 1985. The increase will cost the average residential customer $1.57 a month.
The board also extended the tax on telephone service that now applies to calls made within California to interstate and international calls. The 7.86% tax on service will raise about $1 million.
The budget includes a water rate increase of $6.3%, raising the average residential bill from $12.28 to $13.05 a month, and new refuse collection charges, raising the average rate for back-yard collection service at single-family homes to $18.70 per month, an increase of $1.20.