Last night Councilmembers McKinley, Bankhead, Jones and Quirk-Silva finally admitted what the rest of us had been saying all along: the City of Fullerton’s in-lieu franchise fee is illegal, and has been for the past 15 years. After blowing off the issue for nearly a year (and really, a decade and a half) the city council was forced to suspend the fund transfer that went to pay for General Fund expenses.
Here is Doc Jones’ befuddled admission:
Note that the angrified and bewildered Jones believes that part of the 10% tax maybe had something to do with water delivery. Wrong. It all went to the General Fund to help pay for pensions and four-star hotel room junkets by Jones himself. The water infrastructure and repairs were never paid for out of the General Fund, either. That’s just more confused claptrap from Jones.
And by no means was the tax repealed last night. In fact, the fee will show up on your water bill next month, just as it always has.
Councilman Bruce Whitaker said it very clearly: the franchise fee was collected from ratepayers illegally, was never properly authorized by taxpayers under Prop 218, and needs to be completely thrown out altogether. Deficiencies in the water fund do not change this simple truth, and those shortcomings should be addressed separately with the full notification and approval of the public.
When the tax is finally repealed by a fresh city council, don’t forget that there are millions of illegally-taken dollars that still need to be refunded to water users.