FULLERTON — The City Council tentatively voted Tuesday to repeal the city's controversial 2% utility tax, an issue that had triggered the ouster of three council members.
The move is expected to pass with final approval at the Dec. 6 City Council meeting.
"The tax never had community support," Councilman Chris Norby said. "I think it was pushed through and it's caused a great deal of divisiveness in the community. And before we can really move on, we have to put it to bed."
The vote Tuesday was 4 to 1, with Councilwoman Jan M. Flory dissenting.
Flory is expected to vote against the tax again in December along with Don Bankhead, one of the recalled council members, who will be sworn back into office after having won in last week's election.
Flory noted Tuesday that none of the candidates endorsed by the Fullerton Recalls Committee, which led the recall movement over the tax levy, were elected last week. That, she said, signifies that the voters of Fullerton would rather pay the utility tax than lose services.
The tax, if repealed next month, will terminate Feb. 28.
To make up for the loss in revenue, the city will continue to cut costs through attrition and reduction of public employees' retirement funds and health benefits, Councilman Peter Godfrey said.
"We can actually do it," he said. "We're going to take the load off the taxpayer's back."
Flory countered: "Haste makes waste. There's a reason for that saying. We're being asked to ditch this utility tax without a plan."
Some cuts may be necessary because it is not certain how the state plans to balance its budget, city officials said.