With 20 percent of city government revenues scheduled to vanish next year, the Pinole City Council must decide whether to ask voters if they want to continue paying a tax on utility bills.
The council will meet on Tuesday to discuss placing on the November ballot a measure to continue imposing the 8 percent tax on phone, gas and electricity bills. The revenue from the tax accounts for 20 percent of the city's general fund.
City staff are recommending a ballot measure to continue collecting the tax at the 8 percent rate through 2020. An extension of the tax requires a simple majority of voters.
The utility tax accounts for about $2 million of the $10.4 million general fund budget. It is scheduled to expire in December unless voters approve its renewal. Voters first approved the tax in 1998 and renewed it in 2004 for eight years.
City Manager Belinda Espinosa that losing the annual $2 million in utility tax revenue would mean:
- slower response times for the police and fire departments
- elimination of five police officer jobs
- elimination of two firefighter jobs
- elimination of an emergency dispatcher job
- closure of the Pinole Swim Center and Pinole Cable TV
- no city inspections of rental properties
- elimination of staff for the Neighborhood Watch program
- possible closure of city hall to the public for a second day per week
- reduction of the building inspector position from full time to part time.
The council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Pinole City Hall, 2131 Pear St. It will be carried live on Pinole TV. The attached document includes the full city staff report to the city council.