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San Gabriel Valley Digest

Sierra Madre : Utility-User Tax Discussed

July 11, 1993

A proposed utility-user tax would be reconsidered yearly by the City Council, officials said during a public hearing attended by about 100 residents Tuesday.

But Councilman Gary Adams said he would not vote for a tax that did not include a sunset date.

The proposed 6% tax, which would be imposed on water, gas, electric and phone bills, would cost the average homeowner $9 a month and would provide an estimated $400,000 in 1993-94 and $600,000 a year after that.

The council will vote on the tax next Tuesday, the day it considers Sierra Madre's 1993-94 budget.

Balancing the budget depends on approval of the tax, said Sean Joyce, assistant city administrator.

The City Council will consider a $7.3-million budget that includes $80,000 in cuts, Joyce said. The reduction could be made by cutting three employees, closing the municipal swimming pool in winter and reducing conferences and trips for officials.

Further cuts would be necessary without the tax, Joyce said.

City officials said they are considering capping the tax and exempting low-income families.

Officials cite the loss of property-tax revenue to the state and high litigation costs, including more than $500,000 to clean up a Monterey Park landfill used by the city, as major reasons for the budget shortfall.

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