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Monthly Archives: January 2012
El Segundo making Chevron’s taxes too high
The city manager’s Chevron Shakedown must stop, including efforts to extort large “gifts” of money under threat of a $10 million annual tax hike. The city will suffer long-term damage to its reputation as a good city to locate a business.
Doug Willmore used false premises to construct a deceptive one-sided analysis for the Chevron property, rather than a true cost-versus-benefits analysis. It is unfair and dishonest to compare tax revenues generated per acre by the Chevron refinery with that of other local businesses. Land use in other South Bay cities is mostly residential and not three-quarters commercial/industrial as in El Segundo.
In his one-sided analysis, Willmore ignored the cost for the city to provide and maintain infrastructure and services for residents and businesses that would otherwise exist on the massive Chevron refinery property.
If the refinery never existed, that land would be mostly residential and some commercial. Tax revenues would be much less, and the city would have to provide and maintain infrastructure and services for twice as many residents at great expense that Willmore failed to include in his seriously flawed and biased analysis. … Continue reading
Voters must reject Measure P this April, or we will lose our local fire department, including firefighters, apparatus, and equipment; and we’ll pay more for less emergency services.
Measure P is not a merger of City and County fire departments, but a liquidation of the City fire department and a complete takeover by L.A. County. If Measure P passes, fire and paramedic services will be greatly reduced. El Segundo will permanently lose its three paramedic ambulances, because L.A. County does not operate paramedic ambulances, and El Segundo will lose its legal grandfathered status to operate them.
Residents will be forced to use and pay out-of- town ambulance companies, significantly increasing hospital transport times and costs in money and lives. … Continue reading
City Council Rescinds Tax Hike Proposal – Letter to the El Segundo Herald by Arthur Christopher Schaper
The El Segundo City Council has finally seen the light, the light of limited government that does not pawn off expenses on successful corporations.
The Council may not have yet mustered the political skill to curtail the outrageous pension liabilities that threaten to bankrupt the peaceful community south of LAX, but at least they have rescinded the option of floating a foolish tax hike that would harm a local and very national business in the city’s backyard.
Instead of trying to raise revenue, the El Segundo City Council needs to cut spending, cut entitlements, and cut any other unnecessary fiscal outlays. Like many, I respect the role of public safety officers, but local representatives, who receive a stipend to serve their communities, must step up and cast votes that represent the needs of the current community and future inhabitants, not just placate powerful public unions. … Continue reading
Proposed Chevron Tax Increase
The cooperation between business and community is one of our city’s greatest assets. Businesses not only generate most of our city tax revenues, they also provide generous support to our schools and charities. The coexistence of community and business is a sensitive relationship and, like any good relationship, requires work.
In previous years the relationship between city and business was built on fairness, openness and trust. I’m not sure that relationship exists today. The current leadership in our city appears to have a different approach. The proposed 1,000 percent acreage tax increase to Chevron is an example where the city appears to have a shoot first and ask questions later approach to working with business.
The story behind the proposed tax increase told by City Manager Doug Willmore is an interesting study. … Continue reading
Tax Increase Could Be Potential Blank Check
As a lifelong resident and former mayor of El Segundo, I find the recent City Council decision to pursue a ballot measure to increase taxes on “refineries” extremely troubling, for a number of reasons.
First, the process was utterly lacking in transparency, in that the City Manager’s analysis and subsequent last-minute agendizing of the proposal was apparently initiated without all the Councilmembers’ knowledge.
Second, Chevron the sole target of the proposed tax increase was not informed until after the fact and had no opportunity to provide input or data that might have enhanced the City Manager’s understanding and assessment of the substantial combined revenues the company already provides the city.
Third, no input was solicited from … Continue reading
Community Values Good Neighbor Company
As a 16 year resident of El Segundo, I can tell you that one of the nicest things about living here what is the sense of community and connection here. Local residents devote enormous amounts of time to preserve our cherished quality of life. Local businesses provide financial and other resources to support our children, schools and non-profit groups. The Chevron refinery is at the top of the list of good neighbor companies that can always be counted on to step up when the need arises and is a major benefactor for many of the groups and events that make this a great place to live. Those needs have been significant, including the recently donated beachfront for a lifeguard station and the Fourth of July fireworks, which Chevron underwrote. They have supported school bond issues in addition to being the city’s largest payer of all taxes.
Nothing I’ve heard so far convinces me that quadrupling Chevron’s taxes overnight is in our best interest, … Continue reading
Collaboration and Careful Consideration
As former mayors, we have all experienced firsthand the need to make tough decisions necessary to safeguard the well being of the city and its people. While circumstances differed during each of our tenures, there was consistently a collaborative effort of the Council and community to develop fair, reasonable means of meeting our town’s needs.
The process surrounding the acreage tax increase contradicts the successful tradition of discussing fiscal needs with stakeholders, diffusing potential conflicts and crafting effective solutions the community can support. The introduction of this item lacked transparency, and it’s unclear whether all council members were even aware that City staff was working on the issue. Uses of the revenues were not clearly defined. Proceeds of the tax will go into the general fund with no restrictions on how they will be spent and no accountability to taxpayers.
Finally, the entire process to rush this tax to the ballot will take less than one month, not nearly enough time to get this right. … Continue reading
Table Tax Increase Proposal
As a 40-year resident of El Segundo I’m baffled and somewhat distressed by the City Council’s attempt to increase taxes on Chevron by over $10 million annually. It’s unclear that this action is necessary and even less clear what the money would be used for.
Despite the City’ Manager’s statements that the funds would go for infrastructure and capital projects, it’s possible they could go to the general fund.
Further, if infrastructure is the issue, the customary route would be through bonds, not a tax increase. In my opinion, having been deeply engaged in the passage of three school bond measures and serving at one time on one of the bond citizen’s financial oversight committees, this approach would have made much more sense.
Chevron not only supported those bonds, the company is the largest payer of school bond taxes. It’s entirely likely they would have been open to a discussion about how they could support the City’s current infrastructure needs.
By choosing instead to promote a tax increase that singles out Chevron alone among all the City’s taxpayers, the Council is likely to irreparably damage its relationship with one if its strongest supporters; erode goodwill among the business community and voters alike; and face a costly, resounding defeat at the polls in April. … Continue reading
More Time Needed to Deliberate Tax
The greater El Segundo community is proud of the collaborative relationship between City government and the private sector. This partnership has served our community well, especially during challenging economic times.
We were surprised and disappointed when we learned, with only a few days’ notice, of the Council’s intention to propose a significant tax increase targeted at a single segment of the business community without having first sought input from the Chamber of Commerce and others. This is a sharp departure from the transparent, collegial process that has always served the people of El Segundo for years.
A matter as important as the single largest tax increase in the City’s history deserves thoughtful deliberation, with sufficient time invested not only in research and analysis, but in meaningful discussion with the community. The scant 18 business days from the time this proposal was first aired in public until the deadline to decide whether or not to place the tax increase before voters falls short of the time necessary to exercise responsible diligence. … Continue reading
Questioning Rush to Tax Chevron
As I was preparing to enjoy a long holiday weekend, I was very surprised that the City Council decided to rush through a tax increase for one local business. With lightning speed, a majority of the Council decided to investigate a ballot proposal to increase taxes on Chevron by tenfold. Council members contend that Chevron doesn’t pay as much as refineries in other cities. This increase is based on a representation by the City Manager that is still unclear to me and I question the data that was presented.
The City of El Segundo has historically engaged in a constructive dialogue between business and residents. Why is this tax and ballot measure different? What’s the rush and why is the City singling out just one business?
What’s next for citizens and other business in El Segundo during this recession—pay for trash removal, sewer fees and sales taxes increases? … Continue reading