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San Gabriel Valley Digest

Covina : Utility Tax Rescission Date

August 05, 1993

A Covina city councilman failed to win support Tuesday night for his proposal to immediately dump the city's controversial utility tax and give refunds to those who have paid it.

Councilman Chris Lancaster didn't get a second motion on his proposal to pass an emergency ordinance to rescind the tax and reimburse residents and businesses that have been paying it since late last year.

Had the council backed Lancaster's idea, the tax would have died Sept. 18, instead of Oct. 31 as scheduled, and the city would have had to cough up more than $2 million to reimburse those who have paid the tax, Councilman Richard Gratton said.

"There was no matching cut in expenditures," Gratton said. "I could have considered going along with the idea if we had cut expenditures by (an amount equal to money the city would have had to refund to taxpayers). But no one on the council had any ideas on where to make those cuts."

Lancaster had argued that the entire council was recalled July 13 because of the tax, which costs the average household about $12.60 a month, and terminating it is the will of the voters.

But fellow council members said they want to let the tax expire Oct. 31, giving the new council, which will take over after a Nov. 2 election, more time to come up with alternative revenue or cuts.

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