At the June City Council Meeting, the Council approved a Fire Tax 1% higher than allowed by the Voter approved Fire Tax.
This comes on top of an increase last year of double the allowable amount.
According to City Codes:
"The maximum tax amounts specified by Section 3.4.30 of this chapter shall be increased by
the lesser of (i) three (3%) percent or (ii) the percentage by which the Consumer Price Index
for All Urban Consumers in the Los Angeles-Anaheim-Riverside area published by the Bureau
of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, or any successor to that index, increases
in the twelve (12) months prior to March of the year in which the adjustment is made."
For the year ending in March, the CPI decreased by 1%, so the Fire Tax should have gone down 1%. There is no provision in the Municipal Code that states the Fire Tax cannot be reduced when the CPI falls.
At the June 11, 2009 Council meeting, the Mayor said he had a card from a resident wishing to speak on the item, but he did not allow the resident to speak.
The 2 years of over-charging amount to almost $40,000 per year. This will be compounded by legal increases in future years.
La Habra Heights residents support the Fire Department and the Fire Tax passes by large margins each time it is on the ballot.
The Fire Tax, and enacting Municipal Code, are a "contract" between the City and taxpayers.
The city has violated that contract for a second year.
Just because the residents support the Fire Dept does not mean the City can charge taxpayers whatever they want, exceeding the Voted maximums. If a higher amount is needed, the Code allows the City to go back to the voters to ask for it.