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Calabasas Voters to Decide on Utility Tax

Revenue: The 5% levy, charged since 1991, is put on the March ballot after residents petition City Council for a review.

July 06, 2002|MANUEL GAMIZ JR. | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Calabasas residents will vote in March on whether to keep a utility tax that annually raises about $2.5 million in revenue for the city.

About 500 residents signed a petition to have the tax reviewed by the City Council, which voted unanimously Wednesday to place the issue on the ballot for the next municipal election, said Robin Parker, assistant city manager and clerk.

Calabasas residents have paid the 5% tax on gas, electricity and telephone use since the city incorporated in 1991.

Officials said that losing the tax revenue could affect some city services, primarily parks and recreation, public safety and road repairs.

Karmen Brower, a 35-year resident of the area and one of the organizers of the petition drive, said officials would have to learn to be more fiscally responsible with the city's general fund budget, currently about $17.8 million a year.

She said the city should find ways to replace the money and added that residents should be more involved in the city's decision-making.

"People have the perception that everyone in Calabasas is rich," Brower said.

"People who live here are beginning to resent being classified that way. The only reason people who live in Calabasas have money is they worked hard to get it, and they did not give in to ridiculous ideas."

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