Oroville puts sales tax increase on the ballot – is their retail sector ready for this?

20 Sep


A few years ago I did a post about how great it is to shop in Oroville.

Shop in Oroville – nice clean streets, plenty of parking, friendly folks, and great stuff!

Well, forget that – Oroville city staff is bent on raising their sales tax – a full cent!


For what? Bill LaGrone’s $158,000 salary and $73,000 benefits/pension package.  A couple of years ago, Oroville police chief Bill LaGrone talked Oroville Silly Council into making him “Public Safety Director”, giving him both the police and fire departments. They might have thought they were saving money – did any of these people do well in math? They’re paying this guy the equivalent of two salaries anyway.  And holy freaking cow – what kind of benefits does a person get for $73,000/year? Retirement in a palace in Dubai?

Oroville police department salaries are on par with Chico, even a little higher. Because? You got me – a town of 18,000 residents? Here’s something I forget – the incorporated city of O-ville does not include Thermalito or Palermo, who have no police department, and are under the jurisdiction of the county sheriff.  In fact, a lot of what we think of as “Oroville” is actually county, the city of Oroville is a very tiny little burg.

Small, and too poorly run to justify salaries like this:


City-Data reports that Oroville employs about 23 police employees – including dispatch, but not including LaGrone – at an average salary of $66,000. That stacks up well against Chico police salaries, for a town about four times as populated.  The average employed Orovillian makes about $30,000, which is about half the state average income. The median family income is reported between $36,000 – $47,000/year, with about 20 percent of the residents living on $20,000/year or less.  Knowing that, you might predict – the crime rate in Oroville is high for California,  alarming for such a small town, with such a well-paid police force – see for yourself here –


more here


Oroville is our county seat, so I read on one website that the population goes up by about 7,000 during the day due to the influx of employees working at the county, city and schools. These people are most likely the folks who take the high salary county and city jobs and drive back to their homes in Chico – drive to Oroville some morning, see the conga line.  See the brand new cars.  Then drive home about 5 pm – see the same conga line, same people, driving their expensive cars back to Chico.  I’m guessing they don’t even slow down in the retail district, or even gas their cars in O-ville.

I’m shocked that the city council could  be stupid enough to put this tax on the ballot. Only one  councilor opposed it, and only because he wanted it pegged specifically  for public safety.  The rest of the council went the general fund route, because it would require only the simple majority – 51 percent of the voters who actually show up at the polls. Sounds like a slam dunk.

And it also seems pretty obvious that they aren’t shaking down their own residents as much as the outer lying folks who drive in to shop there. 

Well, that’s okay. I’ve already become very adept at internet shopping.  Farewell, O-ville, City of Fools. 



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