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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
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Local

City of Long Beach
Measure M - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results

Passed

35,651 votes yes (53.76%)

30,659 votes no (46.24%)

100% of precincts reporting (221/221).

To maintain general City services like 9-1-1 emergency response, police/fire protection, street/pothole repairs, senior services, parks and libraries, shall the City of Long Beach amend its Charter to authorize annual fund transfers from the City's water, sewer and gas utilities to the General Fund not to exceed 12% of utility gross revenues, generating approximately $25,500,000 annually for unrestricted general revenue purposes, requiring annual independent audits, until ended by voters?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Charles Parkin, City Attorney

CHARTER AMENDMENT TO AUTHORIZE AND AFFIRM TRANSFERS OF CERTAIN REVENUES FROM CITY UTILITY FUNDS TO THE GENERAL FUND, SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITS AND CONDITIONS

The City of Long Beach General Fund pays for general City services such as police, fire and paramedic response, street repair, parks, libraries and youth/senior programs. On March 7, 2018, the Long Beach City Council placed Measure “M” on the ballot to maintain General Fund revenue.

Long Beach City Charter, Sections 1407 and 1501 currently authorize the City Council or Board of Water Commissioners to transfer revenue from City utility funds to the General Fund if the revenue is not necessary to pay for a utility’s capital improvements, bond/debt service, operations and maintenance, personnel, reserves, and other costs.

Under this authority, the City has, for many years, approved annual transfers of surplus water, sewer and gas utility revenue to the General Fund as part of the budget process. For FY 2016-2017, these transfers amounted to approximately $21,000,000 in General Fund revenue which paid for general City services.

On July 9, 2015, a lawsuit was filed against the City alleging certain revenue transfers from the gas utility to the General Fund are “general taxes” requiring voter approval under Proposition 26. On September 30, 2016, another lawsuit was filed against the City alleging certain revenue transfers from the water and sewer utilities to the General Fund are also “general taxes” requiring voter approval under Proposition 218. The City prevailed at the trial court in the gas utility revenue case, however, that ruling is being appealed. On November 8, 2017, the City settled the water and sewer utility revenue case.

On March 7, 2018, the City Council voted to place Measure “M” on the ballot for the June 5, 2018 Municipal General Election. If approved by a majority of Long Beach voters, Measure “M” would amend Sections 1407 and 1501 of the Long Beach City Charter as follows:

– Reauthorize and affirm the City’s practice of revenue transfers from the water, sewer and gas utilities to the General Fund, as approved by the City Council/Board of Water Commissioners, subject to a cap of twelve percent (12%) of each utility’s annual gross revenues, as shown by audited financial reports.

– Clarify that all proceeds from utility revenue transfers to the General Fund shall be used to maintain local General Fund services.

– Clarify that the City Council or Board of Water Commissioners, whichever is applicable, may approve water, sewer and gas rates in an amount sufficient to recover the costs of operating each utility, including Council/Board-approved utility revenue transfers to the General Fund, as outlined above.

Measure “M” requires simple majority approval of Long Beach voters to pass. If Measure “M” does not pass, utility revenue transfers to the General Fund and utility rates may be reduced. In that case, the City Council may be required, as part of the budgeting process, to consider eliminating or reducing general City services funded by these transfers.

A “Yes” vote will approve Measure “M”.

A “No” vote will not approve Measure “M”.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

MAINTAIN POLICE, FIRE, AND EMERGENCY 911 SERVICES: VOTE YES ON MEASURE M

As your Police Chief, Fire Chief, and your Mayor, we are asking you to Vote YES on Measure M. Measure M is essential to maintaining funding for vital Long Beach 911 emergency services.

Voting YES on M will support Long Beach firefighter, paramedic and police officer staffing, as well as funding for pothole and street repairs, efforts to decrease homelessness and other vital services.

Recent Fire Department enhancements have improved both paramedic and fire response times. Crime dropped 7.9% percent last year, and Long Beach had the lowest murder rate ever on record. We are hiring firefighters and police officers every single year and have added a paramedic rescue unit.

In order to maintain this progress and keep 911 emergency response times low, we need to Vote YES on Measure M.

For up to 60 years, our water, sewer and gas funds have helped support City services by paying their fair share of the costs. Recent lawsuits have changed that, threatening the support of City services from those utility funds, which could result in up to $18 million in potential service reductions.

Measure M is a utility transfer measure. It requires annual audits, places a cap on any future transfers, and ensures that Long Beach follows state law on allowing our utilities to support City services, protecting us from future lawsuits.

Please join us in voting YES for Measure M.

ROBERT GARCIA
Mayor

MICHAEL DUREE
Fire Chief

ROBERT LUNA
Police Chief

Arguments AGAINST

Dear Voter,

VOTE NO. STOP THIS BLATANT MONEY GRAB. The Mayor and Council are spending more than one-half million dollars of your taxes to put this measure on the ballot. Special interests will spend hundreds of thousands in support. Why? The Mayor and Council were caught taking millions of dollars in illegal fees from Water Department’s sewer and water pipeline budget. They raised your sewer and water bills to pay the for the illegal fees. A brave taxpayer stopped them. She filed a lawsuit which forced the City to return millions to the Water Department.

Now, the Mayor and Council want taxpayers to ignore their bad behavior and let them take millions again. Why? They need money to increase already bloated salaries, boost out-of-control pensions and make you, the taxpayer, pay for unnecessary projects and programs.

VOTE NO. PROTECT WATER DEPARTMENT RESOURCES. Don’t let the Mayor and Council turn the Water Department into one more piggybank for them to raid. Water Department funds must be kept separate from the City and used only to protect our water supply.

VOTE NO. STOP THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL FROM THEIR RECKLESS MISMANAGEMENT OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS. In 2016, they spent hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to convince you to raise sales taxes. They promised more police and fire and to fix streets and sidewalks. Today, our public safety ranks are thin. Our streets and sidewalks remain broken. And, Long Beach has the highest sales tax in California. Remember, this was not the first time they asked you to raise taxes.

VOTE NO. SEND A MESSAGE TO THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL. Tell them they can no longer balance the budget on the backs of taxpayers. Instead, tell them to cut unnecessary spending and start being fiscally responsible.

VOTE NO. TELL THEM: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

DIANA LEJINS
Taxpayer Rights Advocate

GERRIE SCHIPSKE
Taxpayer Advocate/Attorney

TOM STOUT
Long Beach Taxpayer Association

JOE WEINSTEIN
Citizens About Responsible Planning

Replies to Arguments FOR

Dear Voter,

Your Mayor and City Council should be ashamed for NOT TELLING YOU:
– A brave taxpayer filed a lawsuit to STOP them from illegally raiding the water and sewer utilities and required them to return millions of dollars.
– The City is spending over one-half million of taxes on this measure so they can re-raid those utilities and the gas utility.
– They squandered all the increased property taxes, sales taxes, and oil taxes. We still don’t have enough police and fire services. Many sidewalks and streets remain unfixed.
– Instead, they spent your money raising bloated salaries and pensions and paying for extravagant and unnecessary projects. Now they want you to give them more because they don’t know how to manage money.

Wait. There’s MORE:
– This measure lets the City increase your water, sewer and gas rates to pay for the massive 12% transfers.
– A 12% transfer is the highest percentage transfer by any city on its utilities.
– This means utility users pay a huge new tax, which property owners pass along to renters. Thanks to higher utility rates, you will also pay more “utility user” taxes which is a “tax-on-a-tax.”
– California is currently considering a tax on your drinking water.
– The City collected $600,000 in new “first-responder-fees” plus hundreds of thousands more for 9-1-1 emergency services.
– The City is expecting millions of dollars in new marijuana taxes.

VOTE NO.

Stop the Mayor and City Council from their reckless spending and mismanagement of YOUR money.

DIANA LEJINS
Taxpayer Rights Advocate

GERRIE SCHIPSKE
Taxpayer Advocate/Attorney

TOM STOUT
Long Beach Taxpayers Association

JOE WEINSTEIN
Citizens About Responsible Planning

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Measure M ensures that our utilities share in the responsibility to support vital City services to Long Beach residents. Our utilities are well run and spend ratepayer funds wisely, while also supporting important City services by paying a share of the costs.

Strong fiscal management provides Long Beach residents with very competitive utility rates. The City’s average combined 2017 Water and Sewer rate was more than $15 per month lower than Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, and Golden State Water. The average bill from those water utilities range from 23% to 200% higher than Long Beach. Further, our gas utility has protections in the City Charter to base rates on prevailing market rates.

Strong fiscal management has kept our utility rates low, and that will continue into the future.

By passing Measure M, the City would continue prudent transfers to support City services, subject to a new 12% cap on transfers from the Water, Sewer and Gas funds – a cap that did not previously exist in the City Charter.

Without Measure M, lawsuits could threaten the support of City services from those utility funds, which could result in up to $18 million in potential service reductions.

A YES VOTE ON MEASURE M will support Long Beach firefighter, paramedic and police officer staffing, as well as funding for pothole and street repairs, efforts to decrease homelessness and other vital services.

Please join us in VOTING YES FOR MEASURE M.

ROBERT GARCIA
Mayor

MICHAEL DUREE
Fire Chief

ROBERT LUNA
Police Chief

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