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GARDEN GROVE | Community News Focus

Ballot Measure to Raise Taxes for Police, Fire Services Shelved

July 26, 1996|LORI HAYCOX

A tax proposal to raise as much as $3.1 million for police and fire services would never pass and therefore will not be on the November ballot, the City Council ruled this week.

On a 3-2 vote, the council decided Wednesday night to make spending cuts in fiscal 1996-97 rather than ask voters to approve a new tax. The city has yet to approve a budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 and is facing a shortfall of more than $6 million.

Finance officials have cut $4.3 million by eliminating 27 full-time and 13 part-time positions. The tax plan, had it been on the ballot and passed by voters, would have provided money for 25 police officer positions that now may be lost through attrition, officials said.

"It's a waste of time to put a measure on the ballot that requires a two-thirds vote. It's not going to pass," said Councilman Bob Dinsen.

State law requires that special taxes be approved by a two-thirds vote of a city's residents.

Council members Mark Leyes and Tony Ingegneri also opposed putting the tax on the ballot.

"I just don't think we are at the point to establish a brand-new tax when we have other options to economize," Leyes said.

The city is considering disbanding its Fire Department and contracting services with the Orange County Fire Authority. City officials are awaiting a county report that will show whether the county can provide the service cheaper.

Also, officials are studying the possibility of leasing the city's water utility to a private company to save money.

Mayor Bruce A. Broadwater, who along with Councilman Ho Chung voted in favor of putting the public safety tax on the ballot, expressed less optimism.

"I do believe because of our lack of police, we are going to have someone who is not going to make it because the police can't get there quick enough," Broadwater said.

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