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Agoura Hills | VALLEY FOCUS

Council Seeks Special Vote on Utility Tax

March 25, 1996|FRANK MANNING

The Agoura Hills City Council will call a special election for a controversial utility tax implemented in 1994 without a public vote.

In doing so, the council is going against the wishes of a local anti-tax group, which wants the tax rescinded immediately and put before voters in November.

The council will meet Thursday to schedule a date for the election, City Manager Dave Adams said. The earliest date that the city could legally hold an election would be June 25, he said.

The issue arose after the California Supreme Court last year upheld a 1986 state ballot measure giving voters a say over new general and special taxes. Since then, the anti-tax group has been pressuring the city to rescind the tax and put it on the November ballot.

Barbara Murphy, the group's leader, says a special election would waste taxpayers' money. She said that city officials have held out for a special election because they believe it would generate a low turnout, made up largely of council supporters who favor the tax.

Adams said the city can't wait until November to know how much revenue will be available for the next fiscal year, which begins in July.

The city, he said, has had to delay numerous street-improvement projects until the revenue issue is resolved. If it waits until November, Adams said, street improvements would be postponed until spring of 1997, during which time the streets would have deteriorated more.

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