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Yucaipa’s proposed Measure E to appear on the ballot in March

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Yucaipa’s proposed Measure E to appear on the ballot in March

Yucaipa voters will vote on the half cent sales tax rate in March.

In a few short weeks, Yucaipa voters will go to the polls to decide on an increased sales tax to generate general funds, that city officials say will be used for primarily emergency services.

Measure E, which is a sales tax rate of 0.5% or a half of one cent, needs a simple majority to pass, 50% plus one vote. The current sales tax rate in Yucaipa is 7.75%.

Yucaipa city councilmembers unanimously voted in November to place the Measure E on the ballot.

Yucaipa Mayor David Avila, a retired firefighter, has written a column on Measure E.

“In 2004, Yucaipa voters passed, Measure Y, entitled: “Paramedic Emergency Medical Services Special Tax” to fund the City’s Paramedic Emergency Services Program; this was anticipated to fund paramedic services city-wide for approximately 10 years,” Avila writes. “Unfortunately, this initiative DID NOT include an escalator to control for normal inflation.

“It has now been 16 years and revenues generated through this special tax have fallen well behind the growing costs of providing the high-quality paramedic services and facilities that Yucaipa residents expect and deserve, including (but not limited to) 911 emergency response calls.”

Measure E, is expected to generate about $2 million annually, according to City Manager Ray Casey.

“These funds would go directly to the city’s general fund to be utilized for police and fire services, parks and recreation, public works, community development, and general administration,” Casey said in a letter addressed to residents.

Both Avila and Casey say a sales tax was chosen over a property assessment so that all beneficiaries of the services are paying for them, not just property owners.

If Measure E passes on March 3, it will go into effect immediately and will remain in effect until amended or appealed by voters.

That would mean that, beginning March 4, purchases in Yucaipa will cost more than those in some neighboring cities like Calimesa, which does not have a sales tax measure on the ballot. Purchases such as clothing, alcohol, tobacco or a meal at a restaurant will be taxed 8.25% in Yucaipa versus 7.75% in Calimesa.

Resident opponents

Many locals who have voiced concerns with the measure, specifically noted the accountability and fund designation within the general fund as a major concern.

The San Bernardino County Democratic Party and the local chapter oppose the measure. (The San Bernardino County Republican Party Central Committee, decided several years ago to not take positions in local bond issues.)

Larry Turner, owner of Turner’s Carpets in Yucaipa, has owned the store for 36 years and been an advocate of small business. Turner is against the measure and any new tax increase. “All of these cities need to start living within their means.” 

Marion Stewart Lovelace is a lifelong resident of Yucaipa. Lovelace said she is a regular at city council meetings and was present at the meeting last year when council discussed putting the measure on the ballot.

“It was presented as a need of increase for the paramedic year when council discussed putting the measure on the ballot.

“It was presented as a need of increase for the paramedic program,” said Lovelace. “I planned to vote yes but now that I see it is going into the general fund to be used for other services as well, I am leaning towards voting no. I am very disappointed in the final writing.”

Resident proponents

Yucaipa resident Jeff Beaulieu said, “I have never once bothered for a tax increase before but I love this town.”

David Caddel has lived in Yucaipa for the past 31 years and works for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. “I am very proud to state, I raised my family in Yucaipa. Our paramedic services are second to none and we have one of safest cities in the entire Inland Empire. Due to the escalating cost of paramedic and law enforcement services and a fixed assessment to pay for paramedic services, we are at a crossroads so to speak. If Measure E passes, it would provide the funds to ensure we have the best equipped and trained paramedics and law enforcement personnel responding to us in our time of need. If however, this measure does not pass, don’t kid yourself, paramedic response times will increase and that could be the difference between life and death. A yes on Measure E will not only ensure law enforcement services are not cut back, but provide the funding to add additional personnel to ensure our safety.”

The Yucaipa City Council was able to make first quarter adjustments to the 2019-20 fiscal budget to cover public safety costs, Casey says in his letter. However, shortfalls for public safety are expected to continue, which is why Measure E was proposed.

“The public safety portion of the budget will continue to become more imbalanced as time goes on because costs are increasing at a faster rate than revenues,” Casey said.

“With annual revenues from property tax and current sales tax levels projected to increase in the neighborhood of 3% to 3.5% (assuming no recession occurs), sheriff’s department contract increases of 5.5% per year, and the paramedic assessment remaining static because the assessment voted in by the community in 2004 did not include any adjustment for consumer price indexes, the public safety budget imbalance will grow from an estimated $1 million annually this year (a $725,000 shortfall for paramedics, and a $275,000 shortfall for police) … to an estimated $1.3 million in 2020, $1.7 million in 2021, and so on.”

Yucaipa staff and council came up with three options to balancing the budget shortfall, Avila said.

“First, the level of emergency services presently being delivered through the city’s paramedic program could be cut back, significantly; this simply is not an option that city officials want to embrace,” he said in his column.

“Second, city officials can ask local voters to authorize a significant increase in the annual special tax … Third, we can ask local voters to authorize a modest half-percent increase in the sales tax that is charged on purchases made within the city. This is precisely what Measure E does.”

Yucaipa City Council

Four of the five Yucaipa City Councilmembers support the Measure. Yucaipa Councilman Greg Bogh does not support it.

“As a huge supporter of police and fire, my statement at the council meeting (November 2019) was that I do not support the sales tax increase,” said Bogh. “I believe if the paramedic tax assessment has a shortfall, then we need to revisit the paramedic assessment tax and not add a sales tax. Most people understand the importance of our paramedic service and would continue to fund this program.”

Mayor David Avila strongly supports the Measure, as does Councilman Dick Riddell.

Riddell called the need to fund paramedic services “critical.”

Mayor Pro Tem Denise Allen also supports the Measure.

“I am strongly in favor of the Measure, because I know my fellow councilmembers - they are all fiscally conservative and focused on public safety as the number one priority,” said Allen.

Councilman Bobby Duncan supports Measure E.

“I never want to pay more in taxes for me or anyone else but the cost of paramedics is increasing so, that we cannot keep up,” said Duncan. “In order to keep the existing service the same, we need to do something.”

Yucaipa Fire Chief

Yucaipa Fire Chief Grant Malinowski explains the current status of the Yucaipa Fire Department. (There was an error in today’s Feb. 7, printed version of this article with the written statement “Yucaipa Fire Chief Grant Malinowski favors Measure E.” Malinowski does not offer any endorsement or opposition for any ballot measure or any political candidate. The Yucaipa-Calimesa News Mirror regrets the error. Below is Malinowski's quote.)

“Since the inception of paramedic service through the Yucaipa Fire Department over 40 years ago, calls for service have steadily and consistently increased,” said Malinowski. “Last year the Yucaipa Fire Department saw a near 5% increase in call volume for a total of 8,297 responses in 2019, with a corresponding and marked increase in response times. In 2019 the Yucaipa Fire Department’s average response time was six minutes and ten seconds. This increase has occurred despite alternative methods to reduce response times such as red light traffic clearing technology and reduced call processing times by adding additional dispatching staff.

“My goal as fire chief is to have Yucaipa paramedics from 911 dispatch to on scene of the incident with an optimal response time as close to five minutes as possible. This realization has previously occurred in 2008 with the opening of Fire Station #3; response times had reached 6 minutes and 30 seconds in 2007 and the decision was made to open an additional fire station with an additional paramedic engine. With this additional paramedic unit, there was reduction in response times to less than 5 minutes by the end of 2008.

“Calls for service have increased over 2,050 calls a year since that point with the existing staffing. Predictions for 2020 will show calls for service increasing to over 8,500 for the year with a response time of over 6 minutes and 30 seconds. Many studies have shown that on critical care calls survivability decreases 10% every minute without intervention, we have added EMD or Emergency Medical Dispatching at our 911 center where pre-arrival care instructions are given though our EMD certified 911 dispatchers.

Paramedic Service through the Yucaipa Fire Department is funded 100% through taxes and there is no billing for services. There is a private ambulance service with a paramedic that services Yucaipa; this is a for profit company that bills our citizens directly for services rendered. The private ambulance provider typically has one to zero ambulances available for response in the city of Yucaipa and it is not uncommon for Yucaipa Fire-paramedics to be providing advanced life support on scene of a 911 call for 20-30 minutes prior to their arrival on any of our 23 daily calls for service.

“On critical care calls, Yucaipa Fire-Paramedics will provide full continuum of care delivering our patients directly to an emergency room doctor. Yucaipa Fire Department is the paramedic service provider in the city of Yucaipa and pride ourselves on providing the highest level of advanced life support to our residents and visitors.”

Neighboring cities

The increasing costs of fire and police services affect all of our neighboring cities as well. Raising sales tax is not the option Calimesa chose when faced with increasing costs for fire services a couple of years ago. Instead of raising taxes or cutting back on services, Calimesa decided to establish its own fire department, while continuing to provide paramedic services from American Medical Response (AMR), as has been the case since the city’s incorporation in 1990.

The city of Calimesa continues to contract with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department for police services, provided from the Cabazon Station.

In Redlands, Mayor Paul Foster reported budget deficits at the State of the Community luncheon on June 21. There has been speculation that Redlands City Council may propose a sales tax increase Measure for the November 2020 ballot. The city currently has a 7.75% sales tax rate.

The current sales tax rate in Beaumont is also 7.75% as well as in the city of Highland. If Measure E passes, Yucaipa would be the highest of surrounding sales tax rates in the area.

For more information about Measure E, visit www.yucaipa.org and click on the link entitled: Measure E.

ORDINANCE NO. 382

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF YUCAIPA, CALIFORNIA, IMPOSING A 0.5% GENERAL TRANSACTIONS AND USE TAX UPON APPROVAL BY VOTERS, TO BE ADMINISTERED BY THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF TAX AND FEE ADMINISTRATION

THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF YUCAIPA DOES HEREBY ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. Chapter 3.32 (“Transactions and Use Tax”) is hereby added to Title 3 (“Revenue and Finance”) of the Yucaipa Municipal Code with the following provisions:

Section 3.32.010. Title. This chapter shall be known as the City of Yucaipa Transactions and Use Tax Ordinance. The City of Yucaipa hereinafter shall be called “City.” This chapter shall be applicable in the incorporated territory of the City.

Section 3.32.020. Operative Date. "Operative Date" means the first day of the first calendar quarter commencing more than 110 days after the adoption of this ordinance by the voters, the date of such adoption being as set forth below.

Section 3.32.030. Purpose. This chapter is adopted to achieve the following, among other purposes, and directs that the provisions hereof be interpreted in order to accomplish those purposes:

A. To impose a retail transactions and use tax in accordance with the provisions of Part 1.6 (commencing with Section 7251) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code and Section 7285.9 of Part 1.7 of Division 2 which authorizes the City to adopt this tax ordinance which shall be operative if a majority of the electors voting on the measure vote to approve the imposition of the tax at an election called for that purpose.

B. To adopt a retail transactions and use tax ordinance that incorporates provisions identical to those of the Sales and Use Tax Law of the State of California insofar as those provisions are not inconsistent with the requirements and limitations contained in Part 1.6 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

C. To adopt a retail transactions and use tax ordinance that imposes a tax and provides a measure therefore that can be administered and collected by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration in a manner that adapts itself as fully as practicable to, and requires the least possible deviation from, the existing statutory and administrative procedures followed by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration in administering and collecting the California State Sales and Use Taxes.

D. To adopt a retail transactions and use tax ordinance that can be administered in a manner that will be, to the greatest degree possible, consistent with the provisions of Part 1.6 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, minimize the cost of collecting the transactions and use taxes, and at the same time, minimize the burden of record keeping upon persons subject to taxation under the provisions of this chapter.

Section 3.32.040. Contract with State. Prior to the operative date, the City shall contract with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to perform all functions incident to the administration and operation of this transactions and use tax chapter; provided, that if the City shall not have contracted with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration prior to the operative date, it shall nevertheless so contract and in such a case the operative date shall be the first day of the first calendar quarter following the execution of such a contract.

Section 3.32.050. Transactions Tax Rate. For the privilege of selling tangible personal property at retail, a tax is hereby imposed upon all retailers in the incorporated territory of the City at the rate of 0.5% of the gross receipts of any retailer from the sale of all tangible personal property sold at retail in said territory on and after the operative date of this chapter.

Section 3.32.060. Place of Sale. For the purposes of this chapter, all retail sales are consummated at the place of business of the retailer unless the tangible personal property sold is delivered by the retailer or his agent to an out-of-state destination or to a common carrier for delivery to an out-of-state destination. The gross receipts from such sales shall include delivery charges, when such charges are subject to the state sales and use tax, regardless of the place to which delivery is made. In the event a retailer has no permanent place of business in the State or has more than one place of business, the place or places at which the retail sales are consummated shall be determined under rules and regulations to be prescribed and adopted by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.

Section 3.32.070. Use Tax Rate. An excise tax is hereby imposed on the storage, use or other consumption in the City of tangible personal property purchased from any retailer on and after the operative date of this chapter for storage, use or other consumption in said territory at the rate of 0.5% of the sales price of the property. The sales price shall include delivery charges when such charges are subject to state sales or use tax regardless of the place to which delivery is made.

Section 3.32.080. Adoption of Provisions of State Law. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter and except insofar as they are inconsistent with the provisions of Part 1.6 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, all of the provisions of Part 1 (commencing with Section 6001) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code are hereby adopted and made a part of this chapter as though fully set forth herein.

Section 3.32.090. Limitations on Adoption of State Law and Collection of Use Taxes. In adopting the provisions of Part 1 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code:

A. Wherever the State of California is named or referred to as the taxing agency, the name of this City shall be substituted therefor. However, the substitution shall not be made when:

1. The word "State" is used as a part of the title of the State Controller, State Treasurer, State Treasury, State Department of Tax and Fee Administration, or the Constitution of the State of California;

2. The result of that substitution would require action to be taken by or against this City or any agency, officer, or employee thereof rather than by or against the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, in performing the functions incident to the administration or operation of this chapter.

3. In those sections, including, but not necessarily limited to sections referring to the exterior boundaries of the State of California, where the result of the substitution would be to:

a. Provide an exemption from this tax with respect to certain sales, storage, use or other consumption of tangible personal property which would not otherwise be exempt from this tax while such sales, storage, use or other consumption remain subject to tax by the State under the provisions of Part 1 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, or;

b. Impose this tax with respect to certain sales, storage, use or other consumption of tangible personal property which would not be subject to tax by the state under the said provision of that code.

4. In Sections 6701, 6702 (except in the last sentence thereof), 6711, 6715, 6737, 6797 or 6828 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

B. The word "City" shall be substituted for the word "State" in the phrase "retailer engaged in business in this State" in Section 6203 of the Revenue and Taxation Code and in the definition of that phrase in Section 6203.

1. “A retailer engaged in business in the District” shall also include any retailer that, in the preceding calendar year or the current calendar year, has total combined sales of tangible personal property in this state or for delivery in the State by the retailer and all persons related to the retailer that exceeds five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000). For purposes of this section, a person is related to another person if both persons are related to each other pursuant to Section 267(b) of Title 26 of the United States Code and the regulations thereunder.

Section 3.32.0100. Additional Permit Not Required. If a seller's permit has been issued to a retailer under Section 6067 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, an additional transactor's permit shall not be required by this chapter.

Section 3.32.0110. Exemptions and Exclusions.

A. There shall be excluded from the measure of the transactions tax and the use tax the amount of any sales tax or use tax imposed by the State of California or by any city, city and county, or county pursuant to the Bradley-Burns Uniform Local Sales and Use Tax Law or the amount of any state-administered transactions or use tax.

B. There are exempted from the computation of the amount of transactions tax the gross receipts from:

1. Sales of tangible personal property, other than fuel or petroleum products, to operators of aircraft to be used or consumed principally outside the county in which the sale is made and directly and exclusively in the use of such aircraft as common carriers of persons or property under the authority of the laws of this State, the United States, or any foreign government.

2. Sales of property to be used outside the City which is shipped to a point outside the City, pursuant to the contract of sale, by delivery to such point by the retailer or his agent, or by delivery by the retailer to a carrier for shipment to a consignee at such point. For the purposes of this paragraph, delivery to a point outside the City shall be satisfied:

a. With respect to vehicles (other than commercial vehicles) subject to registration pursuant to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 4000) of Division 3 of the Vehicle Code, aircraft licensed in compliance with Section 21411 of the Public Utilities Code, and undocumented vessels registered under Division 3.5 (commencing with Section 9840) of the Vehicle Code by registration to an out-of-City address and by a declaration under penalty of perjury, signed by the buyer, stating that such address is, in fact, his or her principal place of residence; and

b. With respect to commercial vehicles, by registration to a place of business out-of-City and declaration under penalty of perjury, signed by the buyer, that the vehicle will be operated from that address.

3. The sale of tangible personal property if the seller is obligated to furnish the property for a fixed price pursuant to a contract entered into prior to the operative date of this chapter.

4. A lease of tangible personal property which is a continuing sale of such property, for any period of time for which the lessor is obligated to lease the property for an amount fixed by the lease prior to the operative date of this chapter.

5. For the purposes of subparagraphs (3) and (4) of this section, the sale or lease of tangible personal property shall be deemed not to be obligated pursuant to a contract or lease for any period of time for which any party to the contract or lease has the unconditional right to terminate the contract or lease upon notice, whether or not such right is exercised.

C. There are exempted from the use tax imposed by this chapter, the storage, use or other consumption in this City of tangible personal property:

1. The gross receipts from the sale of which have been subject to a transactions tax under any state-administered transactions and use tax chapter.

2. Other than fuel or petroleum products purchased by operators of aircraft and used or consumed by such operators directly and exclusively in the use of such aircraft as common carriers of persons or property for hire or compensation under a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued pursuant to the laws of this State, the United States, or any foreign government. This exemption is in addition to the exemptions provided in Sections 6366 and 6366.1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code of the State of California.

3. If the purchaser is obligated to purchase the property for a fixed price pursuant to a contract entered into prior to the operative date of this chapter.

4. If the possession of, or the exercise of any right or power over, the tangible personal property arises under a lease which is a continuing purchase of such property for any period of time for which the lessee is obligated to lease the property for an amount fixed by a lease prior to the operative date of this chapter.

5. For the purposes of subparagraphs (3) and (4) of this section, storage, use, or other consumption, or possession of, or exercise of any right or power over, tangible personal property shall be deemed not to be obligated pursuant to a contract or lease for any period of time for which any party to the contract or lease has the unconditional right to terminate the contract or lease upon notice, whether or not such right is exercised.

6. Except as provided in subparagraph (7), a retailer engaged in business in the City shall not be required to collect use tax from the purchaser of tangible personal property, unless the retailer ships or delivers the property into the City or participates within the City in making the sale of the property, including, but not limited to, soliciting or receiving the order, either directly or indirectly, at a place of business of the retailer in the city or through any representative, agent, canvasser, solicitor, subsidiary, or person in the City under the authority of the retailer.

7. "A retailer engaged in business in the City" shall also include any retailer of any of the following: vehicles subject to registration pursuant to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 4000) of Division 3 of the Vehicle Code, aircraft licensed in compliance with Section 21411 of the Public Utilities Code, or undocumented vessels registered under Division 3.5 (commencing with Section 9840) of the Vehicle Code. Such retailer shall be required to collect use tax from any purchaser who registers or licenses the vehicle, vessel, or aircraft at an address in the City.

D. Any person subject to use tax under this chapter may credit against that tax any transactions tax or reimbursement for transactions tax paid to a district imposing, or retailer liable for a transactions tax pursuant to Part 1.6 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code with respect to the sale to the person of the property the storage, use or other consumption of which is subject to the use tax.

Section 3.32.0120. Resident Oversight. A five-member Residents’ Oversight Committee shall be created by the City Council and meet annually to review and publicly report on the expenditure of revenues generated by the tax imposed by this Ordinance. Members of the Committee will be appointed to two-year terms by the City Council. The City Council may, by resolution, adopt rules and guidelines for the Committee’s work.

Section 3.32.0130. Audit and Review. The proceeds of the tax imposed by this chapter, as well as the expenditure thereof, shall be audited annually by an independent accounting firm in connection with the City’s annual financial audits. The City Council shall discuss the results of such audit at a meeting of the City Council that is open to the public. The report of such audit shall be posted on the City’s website and made available to the public upon request.

Section 3.32.0140. Amendments. All amendments subsequent to the effective date of this chapter to Part 1 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code relating to sales and use taxes and which are not inconsistent with Part 1.6 and Part 1.7 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, and all amendments to Part 1.6 and Part 1.7 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, shall automatically become a part of this chapter, provided however, that no such amendment shall operate so as to affect the rate of tax imposed by this chapter. Pursuant to Elections Code Section 9217, the City Council may amend this ordinance as deemed necessary for collection, administration, and enforcement provided, however, that no such amendment shall operate so as to affect the rate of tax imposed by this ordinance.

Section 3.32.0150. Enjoining Collection Forbidden. No injunction or writ of mandate or other legal or equitable process shall issue in any suit, action or proceeding in any court against the State or the City, or against any officer of the State or the City, to prevent or enjoin the collection under this chapter, or Part 1.6 of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, of any tax or any amount of tax required to be collected.

Section 2. Severability. If any provision of this Ordinance, this chapter, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the chapter and the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

Section 3. Effective Date. This Ordinance relates to the levying and collecting of the City transactions and use taxes and shall take effect immediately.

Section 4. Execution. The Mayor shall sign and the City Clerk shall attest to the passage of this Ordinance upon certification by the City Council of the results of the March 3, 2020 election approving this Ordinance. The City Clerk shall transmit the adopted and executed Ordinance to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration forthwith.

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(1) comment

Okeydoker

What an outrage! The city spends tax money on a phony newspaper looking mail piece to push for their 2 million dollar a year tax increase when their deficit is only quarter that a amount. And the money does not go only for paramedic service but rather into the general fund. Everyone associated with this scam should be tossed out of office. If the council can’t manage their budget then get out and let some competent people run the city.

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