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Smart Voter
Los Angeles County, CA March 3, 2009 Election
Measure Bellflower-A
Utility User Tax Continuation & Modernization
City of Bellflower

Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 2592 / 81.8% Yes votes ...... 578 / 18.2% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall an ordinance be adopted, without raising tax rates, to continue and modernize Bellflower's utility users' tax on telecommunications services to fund vital services, including Sheriff's services/neighborhood patrols; school safety programs; grafitti removal; gang/drug prevention/enforcement programs; after-school activities; senior/disabled residents' services; library services; and other general fund services; exempting low-income residents, requiring equal treatment of taxpayers regardless of technology used, audits, citizen oversight committee, public expenditure review/local control of revenues?

Impartial Analysis from Joseph W. Pannone
City Attorney
This City Council-proposed Measure A would continue the City's existing Utility Users' Tax (UUT) relating to Telecommunications Services, provide an updated UUT for those services in relation to current technology, as well as to emerging and future technologies and make other clarifi cations and updates to the municipal code related to the City's UUT in general.


Since 1993, Bellflower residents and businesses have paid the UUT on telecommunications, electricity and gas services. All UUT revenues are paid into the City's General Fund, which is allocated by the City Council through the annual budget for general city services, such as public safety services, graffi ti removal, gang and drug prevention and enforcement programs, after-school activities, senior and disabled residents' services and library services. The current UUT rate is 5%. Total UUT revenues comprise approximately 15.6%, or $4.1 Million, of the City's General Fund revenues. Telecommunication UUT revenues comprise approximately 6.8%, or $1.8 Million, of the City's General Fund revenues.

In past years, Bellflower, and most California cities with UUT's, determined which telecommunications services would be subject to the UUT by referencing defi nitions in federal law. Recent interpretation of those federal law defi nitions has changed. That change in interpretation has created uncertainty about the application and reach of the City's UUT. Measure A would update municipal code provisions governing the UUT (“UUT ordinance”), by eliminating references to the federal law defi nitions and assuring the UUT is applicable to emerging and future communications technologies.

Measure A would:

  • Replace older definitions, include definitions that address new technologies and treat all telecommunications customers similarly, whether they use traditional landline telephones, cell phones, VoIP, bundling with other non-taxed utility services such as Internet or cable/satellite TV or some future mode of communication services.
  • Maintain the UUT at the current rate of 5% for all communication services, regardless of technology. The City Council may temporarily lower or suspend that rate in the future, but may not raise it above 5% without a vote of the people.
  • Maintain the existing exemption for low-income households; the Council may temporarily expand exemptions, but may not reduce or eliminate exemptions for low-income households without a vote of the people.
  • Require an annual independent verifi cation to confi rm the UUT is being properly collected, remitted and spent.
  • Not tax the use of the Internet. Federal law prohibits taxing that use and Measure A complies with that law.
  • Make non-substantive and procedural amendments to clarify the existing UUT ordinance.

Measure A requires approval of a majority of the voters. A “Yes” vote for Measure A will approve the updates to the UUT ordinance, as described above. A “No” vote against Measure A will leave in place the City's existing UUT code provisions, without updates.

Arguments Submitted

Summary of Arguments FOR Measure Bellflower-A:
Message from the City Manager
  Official Information

City of Bellflower

Message from the City Manager
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Arguments For Measure Bellflower-A
Yes on A protects Bellflower's public safety and other community services from state money grabs – with NO increase in tax rates!

Yes on A simply updates Bellflower's existing, voter-approved Utility Users' Tax (UUT) to fully comply with new federal regulations and include modern communication technologies, ensuring all residents are treated equally regardless of technology used.

This is NOT a new tax. TAX RATES STAY THE SAME. Yes on A guarantees that tax rates cannot be increased without voter approval.

Exemptions for low-income residents are protected. Bellflower's UUT was introduced in 1993, when crime rates were among the highest in our history. Since then, the City has dedicated approximately 80% of UUT revenues to public safety, decreasing the overall crime rate by 50%!

With 80,000 gang members and 1,200 gangs in Los Angeles County, we can't afford to lose any of these funds. Yes on A keeps Bellflower safe – and continues support for important services such as:

1. Neighborhood police patrols
2. School safety programs, school crossing guards
3. Sheriff foot/bike patrols
4. Bellflower Sheriff's Station operations
5. Services for residents with disabilities or autism
6. Graffiti removal

Yes on A continues funding for youth programs that serve 1,500 kids: anti-gang and drug prevention programs to fight gangs; youth after-school activities that address juvenile violence; and recreational programs that keep kids off the streets and out of trouble.

YES ON A IS FISCALLY ACCOUNTABLE. Yes on A requires independent citizens' oversight and fi nancial audits to ensure all funds are properly spent. The public will continue to review all City budget expenditures.

Local firefighters, sheriffs, the Bellflower City Council and local business owners support Yes on A – locally-controlled revenue for essential City services that can't be taken by Washington or Sacramento. Vote Yes on A.

/s/ Randy Bomgaars, Mayor, City of Bellflower
/s/ Raymond Dunton, Council Member, City of Bellflower
/s/ Leroy D. Baca, Sheriff, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
/s/ Judy Koops, Bellflower Business Owner
/s/ Pam Leestma, Teacher, Valley Christian School

(No arguments against Measure Bellflower-A were submitted)

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Created: June 26, 2009 11:57 PDT
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