City of Chico double ends us on our utilities, collecting Utility Tax on our total bill while adding franchise fees to our rates

31 Dec

If you watch the government steadily over time like I have the last 50 or so years, you see the contradictions and the outright lies. My favorite of late was Obama’s promise that we would not lose our health care providers under Obamacare.

So when Chico City management started repeating their Big Lie about the Camp Fire evacuees all landing on Chico  like a plague of locusts, I knew it was really all about pushing for the sales tax increase. In fact, at a Finance Committee presentation of the proposed measure, Ass City Mangler Chris Constantin actually said we should put it on the March ballot so we could “take advantage of the population influx.” He not only acknowledged then that the evacuees would be temporary, he also predicted that the economy would tank soon. That’s another blog.

But CARD got their parcel tax (Measure A) on the March ballot before the city could decide what to do with theirs, and knowing they would be stupid to have two tax measures on one ballot, the city decided to wait until November. That gives them more time to campaign anyway, since they can’t campaign for the measure once it has  been submitted and accepted for the ballot by the county clerk.

Brian Nakamura made the mistake of using taxpayer money to produce and distribute flyers promoting the city of Rancho Cordova’s tax measure, and that got him the can, so his former cronies will not make the same mistake.

http://www.kcra.com/news/rancho-cordova-faces-formal-campaign-mailer-complaint/28980752

So staff has to be creative, they need to create financial problems and then convince the taxpayers that they need to pay more money to solve them. They don’t want us to find out the real truth about city finances – whole funds are in arrears because they’ve been siphoning off money to pay down the pension liability. Look at the budget here,

http://www.chico.ca.us/finance/documents/2019-20CityAnnualFINALBudget.pdf

and push “Control F” on your keyboard. Then type in the words, “pension” or “pension liability”, look at it for yourself if you don’t want to take my word for it. Then type in “gas tax” and be further outraged. 

I think you will see stuff that inspires you to write your own letter to the editor, here’s mine.

NOTE: Here’s a further irony I was not able to address in 250 words – they add a franchise fee that increases your rates, and then they use that total to figure the 5% Utility Tax. Sock it to me BABEE!

After a year of Chico staffers complaining that the Camp Fire evacuees were “straining” our services, we find a $20,000,000 “boost” in city coffers. Where did that come from?

Staff reports sales and bed tax were up, way up, during those months after the fire. Staff didn’t mention Utility Tax or the franchise fees that are tacked onto our utility bills. The city adds a 5% Utility Tax to your PG&E, Cal Water/sewer, and landline bills, taking $7,051,581 last year. With rate increases and new development, that goes up about $50,000/year. Think what a temporary population influx meant.

 A letter writer mentioned the trash tax or “franchise fee”.  The city also collects franchise fees from PG&E and Comcast. Last year the city added $1,102,674 to our trash bills and expects to collect about $1,600,000 in 2019-20. They tacked another $757,192 onto our PG&E bills and $899,942 to our cable tv bills. 

Shouldn’t these funds be used for street maintenance?  Last year staff used almost $400,000 in Comcast fees to remodel council chambers. These hidden taxes go into the General Fund, where they are available for any whim of council.

Council created the ordinances by which these taxes are added to our utility rates, and council can lower or eliminate them.  Ironically, they also created a “no price gouging” ordinance, but proceeded to make profit from the tragedy.  Let them know how you feel about that by claiming your annual Utility Tax Rebate, available from May 1 to June 30. Email the clerk at debbie.presson@chicoca.gov for details.

Juanita Sumner, Chico CA

 

4 Responses to “City of Chico double ends us on our utilities, collecting Utility Tax on our total bill while adding franchise fees to our rates”

  1. Dave December 31, 2019 at 6:29 pm #

    If you watch the government steadily over time like I have the last 50 or so years, you see the contradictions and the outright lies.

    Absolutely. The very nature of government is coercion and that includes the use of brute force. You must obey every law, ordinance, decree, rule, order no matter how idiotic or unfair and pay every penny of tax, assessment, fee, penalty and fine. If you don’t you will be further fined and otherwise penalized. And if you don’t pay those fines and penalties people with guns will throw you in a cage with violent inmates. And if you resist you will be killed.

    Whether one wants to admit it or not, this is the very nature of government. With that kind of raw, brute force power naturally government attracts liars, power hungry egomaniacs, fraudsters and other assorted rapscallions. How could it not? I could never understand liberals who claim to be so peace loving favoring the use of such a violent institution as the answer to society’s problems.

    They don’t want us to find out the real truth about city finances – whole funds are in arrears because they’ve been siphoning off money to pay down the pension liability.

    Two things are certain. They will always lie to us about how the tax increase money is to be used. Just look at the SB1 money and the garbage tax money. The other certainty is that no matter how much they take from us they will ALWAYS be back demanding more.

    They use our tax money to raise our taxes (they will spend over $100,000 of our tax money to get the sales tax increase on the ballot and to pay their highly paid consulting firm to propagandise the public) and then most of that tax increase money will be spent on pensions, raises and to service new debt. The fact is the pensions and raises come first and everything else comes last.

    Their actions amount to fraud and they are criminals, yet the voters are stupid enough to let them get away with it and worse, the voters enable it.

    We are indeed a community of sheep ruled by criminals.

  2. Dave December 31, 2019 at 6:39 pm #

    “NOTE: Here’s a further irony I was not able to address in 250 words – they add a franchise fee that increases your rates, and then they use that total to figure the 5% Utility Tax.”

    This is paying tax on tax. If that’s not illegal it certainly should be but since our politicians are nothing but thieves I am sure they must have something written into law allowing this and since the judicial system is thoroughly corrupt I’m sure it would never be struck down.

    • Juanita Sumner January 1, 2020 at 5:55 am #

      Thanks, that’s exactly what it is. And people should be outraged that the math isn’t right on the bill – a classic example of a hidden tax.

      In the immortal words of Doug Hammett, WAKE UP PEOPLE, YOU ARE BEING HAD!

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