Bellflower council votes to continue utility users tax

BELLFLOWER — The city’s 5% utility users tax will continue through 2021, the City Council decided after a public hearing Dec. 14.

The City Council is required to hold a public hearing every year in December to renew, modify or repeal the tax, which was adopted by the City Council in 1994, Public Safety Director Joel Hockman said in a written report.

The 1994 adoption of the tax also created a public safety review committee to review and make recommendations to the City Council regarding implementation of the city’s community policing program and the expenditure of funds for that program.

At its Nov. 17, regular meeting, the Public Safety Review Committee unanimously recommended to continue the utility users tax in its current form, Hockman said.

“The city projects that revenue from the monthly tax on electricity, natural gas and communications (including cell phones) will be approximately $2.88 million for fiscal year 2020-21,” Hockman said.

He added that the estimated revenue is $1.8 million below the estimated consumer price index growth and $2.83 million below the combined estimated CPI and population growth.

In other action Dec. 14, the council:

• Approved a resolution encouraging the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to repeal the new health officer order restricting outdoor dining effective Nov. 25.

The order eliminates commercial outdoor dining,” City Manager Jeffrey L. Stewart told the council. The order does allow for drive-through and delivery services of food. Additionally, wineries and breweries may continue retail operations while adhering to current safety protocols.

• Approved a resolution and an agreement with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to implement the transactions and use tax approved by the voters at the Nov. 3 election.

Bellflower voters approved Measure M, a three-quarter-cent sales tax measure. The city’s sales tax consultant, Hinderliter, de Llamas & Associates, estimates that additional sales tax will generate approximately $4.5 million per year for the general fund.

• Continued plans for the outgoing mayor’s veremony Jan. 25 to honor Juan Garza, who led the City Council during the past year. Garza represented a citywide district which no longer exists.

If he wants to get back on the council, he will have to run in November 2022 to represent District 5, where he currently lives. That district is currently represented by Mayor Pro Tem Ray Dunton.

The city also has decided to postpone its annual BRAVO Award event, originally scheduled for Feb. 4 because of the continuing coronavirus pandemic. The city will target sometime in the spring for the event that honors police, firefighters and individuals who performed acts of valor concerning crime, crime prevention and rescues in the community as well as officials who have given the city long-term services.

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