Here’s the title of Sylvia Mudrick’s press release describing Tuesday night’s council action with regard to Fullerton’s illegal 10% water tax: ”Council approves eliminating franchise fee on water rates.” That’s not true. Yes, the council voted to stop transferring the illegal tax to the city’s General Fund, but they most certainly did not approve to eliminate the franchise fee on water rates – just the transfer, which means we will keep paying the illegal tax into some sort of escrow fund until a Prop 218 hearing can be held – the Prop 218 hearing that should have been held 15 years ago! Of course in the meantime there is no legal requirement to hold a Prop 218 hearing to quit collecting the 10%; and it looks like Quirky and Whitaker got sideswiped on the scam that will put another $400,000 in the escrow account as City manager Joe Felz tries to cook up a scheme to hang on to as much of that annual $2,500,000 he can.
But back to Mudrick: of course she has been happily peddling pro-city baloney for years, and as a retiree she is still doing it, now as a double-dipper.
The worst part of the press release is the bogus recitation of the history of the water tax, conveniently omitting the fact that periodic complaints have been coming from citizens since at least the early 1990s. Syl would have you believe that it was the City that brought this scam to light and that they have been proactive. Wrong. The City has been hiding this massive scam for decades; the tax has been patently illegal since 1997, and everybody in authority in City Hall knew it, a fact curiously omitted by our highly pensioned and still remunerated Public Misinformation Officer.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE #09312 4/18/2012
Subject :Council approves eliminating franchise fee on water rates
Contact :Sylvia Palmer Mudrick, Public Information Coordinator, Fullerton City Manager’s Office
The Fullerton City Council voted at its Tuesday (April 17) meeting to eliminate the transfer of a franchise fee charged on water rates in the city, effective May 1.
The water franchise fee was first adopted in 1968 when the council assessed a fee of 2 percent of the Water Fund as a means of reimbursing the costs to the city’s general fund for operating a water utility. The fee was raised to 10 percent in 1970.
In fiscal 2010-11, the city’s general fund received approximately $2.5 million from the water franchise fee.
The franchise fee came under review in 2009-10 at the conclusion of a five-year water rate study. At that time, the council formed an Ad Hoc Water Rate Advisory Committee composed of citizens who were tasked with studying all facets of operation of the city water system.
In conjunction with its action Tuesday, the council directed the Ad Hoc Water Rate Advisory Committee to study and make recommendations on a method for the city to charge for the direct cost of operating the water system.
In addition, the council asked the committee to make recommendations on a method for reimbursing citizens for the actual cost of the franchise fee paid for the past three years.
Further information about the council action may be obtained by calling the Fullerton City Clerk’s Office at (714) 738-6350. Further information about the franchise fee and the water rate study may be obtained by calling the Fullerton Water Engineering Office at (714) 738-6845.