Issue Updates

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  • 17 Dec 2014 12:56 PM | Anonymous

    Obtain Petitions at CoCoTax Office

    The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association supports the referendum petition campaign to repeal the 33% Supervisor Salary Increase.

     CoCoTax spoke in front of the Board of Supervisors at a meeting on October 28th against the proposed 33% salary increase. On November 4th, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors passed Ordinance 2014-10 to increase their salaries by 33% effective January 3, 2015. The supervisor salary is tied to the superior court judge salary. The supervisors will be paid

    $129, 227.04 per year. The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will be paid more than supervisors in San Francisco, Marin, Solano, Sacramento, Napa, and San Mateo counties.

    On the supervisor salary increase issue, the Contra Costa Taxpayers is coordinating with Local One and the Deputy Sheriffs Association as a coalition to gather the necessary 32,000 signatures by January 2, 2015.

     

    Please pick up or sign a petition at the offices of Contra Costa Taxpayers Association from

    12-4 pm from December 15 to December 19, 2014.

    Location/Hours To Obtain Petitions:

    Contra Costa Taxpayers Association

    1661 Botelho Drive, Suite 200

    Walnut Creek

    Directions: Corner of S. California Blvd. and Botelho Dr. in the strip mall of Petco. Office is located above Red House.

    Drop Off/Pick Up Hours:12-4 pm, Monday-Friday, Dec 15-19

    Pick up petitions or drop off signed petitions.

    Shifts: E-mail alex@cocotax.org if you are available to do tabling on a weekend.

    Deadline: January 2, 2015

     

    Contact the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association to obtain petitions, drop off petitions, or sign a petition at alex@cocotax.org or 925-289-6900.

     

  • 04 Dec 2014 1:03 PM | Anonymous

    12/4/2014

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                          
     Alex Aliferis
     925-289-6900
     
    CoCoTax Supports Referendum Petition Campaign to Repeal 33% Supervisor Salary Increase
     
    (Martinez, CA) - The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association supports the referendum petition campaign to repeal the 33% Supervisor Salary Increase.
     
    CoCoTax spoke in front of the Board of Supervisors meeting on October 28th against the proposed 33% salary increase. On November 4th, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors passed Ordinance 2014-10 to increase their salaries by 33% effective January 3, 2015. The supervisor salary is tied to the superior court judge salary. The supervisors will be paid $129, 227.04 per year. The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will be paid more than supervisors in San Francisco, Marin, Solano, Sacramento, Napa, and San Mateo Counties.
     
    Alex Aliferis, Executive Director of Contra Costa Taxpayers Association, says, “The board should not have increased salaries by 33%. Why do the supervisors vote themselves a salary increase while taxpayers are not receiving salary increases due to a slow economy?”
     
    On this supervisor salary increase issue, the Contra Costa Taxpayers is coordinating with Local One as a coalition to gather the necessary 32,000 signatures by January 2, 2015 for the referendum.
     
    Taxpayers can contact the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association to obtain petitions or sign a petition at alex@cocotax.org or 925-289-6900.

  • 13 Oct 2014 9:55 AM | Anonymous

    California regulators have cracked down on hundreds of public officials up and down the state who accepted meals, baseball tickets, brownies and other gifts from a bond-finance company and failed to disclose them.

    http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/oct/06/stone-youngberg-poway-meals-statewide-probe/

  • 26 Aug 2014 1:15 PM | Anonymous

    Oppose Proposed Unconstitutional Prop 218 East Contra Costa Fire Benefit Assessment by Voting NO on Your Mailed Ballot

    In 1996, voters approved Prop 218 “Right to Vote on Taxes Act.” Prop 218 requires a ballot to be mailed to property owners for all assessments and property related fees with the exception of water, sewer, and garbage rates. Street lighting assessments, storm water and urban runoff management assessments, etc., are all examples of a ballot that is mailed to voters. The ballot is weighted by the property size.

    Prior to Prop 218, cities were attempting to pass police assessments. Police and fire services are a general benefit that should be paid for via taxes on all residents, not just assessments against homeowners. According to the drafter of Prop 218, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association said that the use of a benefit assessment rather than a special tax to fund fire suppression services constitutes a violation of article XIII D of the California Constitution (“Proposition 218”).

    The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association opposes the use of benefit assessments by the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District or any other fire district. The fire district’s spiraling pension costs is forcing the district to cut fire service just to pay for its pension benefits. In addition, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District prepared for a parcel tax election for either June or November 2014. Polling suggested no support for a parcel tax. Then they decided for a benefit assessment.

    Court cases have been litigated against Prop 218 fire district benefit assessments. Recently the Sacramento Metro Fire District withdrew its proposed benefit assessment over litigation threats. The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District is ignoring previous court cases litigated against fire district Prop 218 benefit assessments.

    The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board of Directors approved the fire benefit assessment on August 4th. Ballots will be mailed out to property owners on August 15, 2014. There will be a public hearing on fire assessment and tabulation of ballots.

    The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District is facing future increases in pensions and salaries. The operating budget projections for 2013-2014 show that salaries/benefits are $9.4 million and will jump to $12.7 million in 2018-2019. Revenues in 2013-14 are $12.8 million and will remain at $10.1 million in 2018-2019. Spiraling pension costs is forcing the district to cut services to pay for pension benefits.

    To read the proposed engineer’s report:

     http://www.eccfpd.org/assets/documents/BoardPacketAugust42014.pdf

     East County Fire Protection budget and other financials:  http://www.eccfpd.org/documents/financial/index.htm

    Sacramento Bee Editorial:  Metro Fire Chief makes right choice to pull tax.

    http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/10/6311182/editorial-metro-fire-chief-makes.html

     Sacrament Bee:  http://www.sacbee.com/2014/05/15/6406421/taxpayer-group-plans-to-challenge.html

  • 26 Aug 2014 1:13 PM | Anonymous

    East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Proposed Unconstitutional Prop 218 Benefit Assessment Misleads Property Owners

    The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District approved for an East Contra Costa Fire Protection Benefit Assessment on August 4th. CoCoTax and citizens spoke against the use of a Prop 218 benefit assessment.

     The summary draft engineer’s report misleads property owners as it introduces a hidden split role tax on commercial property. Property is taxed higher depending on square footage. The consultant made it clear that EMS (Emergency Medical Service) is not a special benefit assessment. The district wants to use the money to keep two stations open plus a sunshine station.

     Large commercial property will be levied $100-$200. Multi-family parcels will be levied $120-$200. Single family homes obtain a $100-$110 levy. Agriculture is levied higher at $100-$200 or more. The consultant estimated 2015/16 assessment revenue is at $4.074 million.

     Will the district violate Prop 218 by using its engines for EMS? Motorists passing through East Contra Costa County from other counties will use East County EMS service when accidents occur. Mutual and automatic aid is a general benefit. The consultant noted how increased protection of property, timely/direct response, and fire prevention are special benefits identified.

     To read the engineer’s report: http://www.eccfpd.org/assets/documents/BoardPacketAugust42014.pdf

  • 16 Jul 2014 3:44 PM | Anonymous

    Oppose Proposed Unconstitutional Prop 218 East Contra Costa Fire Benefit Assessment Before August 4th

    In 1996, voters approved Prop 218 “Right to Vote on Taxes Act.” Prop 218 requires a ballot to be mailed to property owners for all assessments and property related fees with the exception of water, sewer, and garbage rates. Street lighting assessments, storm water and urban runoff management assessments, etc., are all examples of a ballot that is mailed to voters. The ballot is weighted by the property size.

    Prior to Prop 218, cities were attempting to pass police assessments. Police and fire services are a general benefit that should be paid for via taxes on all residents, not just assessments against homeowners. According to the drafter of Prop 218, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association said that the use of a benefit assessment rather than a special tax to fund fire suppression services constitutes a violation of article XIII D of the California Constitution (“Proposition 218”).

    The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association opposes the use of benefit assessments by the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District or any other fire district. The fire district’s spiraling pension costs is forcing the district to cut fire service just to pay for its pension benefits. In addition, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District prepared for a parcel tax election for either June or Nov 2014. Polling suggested no support for a parcel tax. Then they decided for a benefit assessment.

    Court cases have been litigated against Prop 218 fire district benefit assessments. Recently, the Sacramento Metro Fire District withdrew its proposed benefit assessment over litigation threats. The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District is ignoring previous court cases litigated against fire district Prop 218 benefit assessments.

    The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board of Directors will meet on August 4th to consider approval of the Engineer’s Report and decide for a fire assessment. If the assessment is pursued, the fire assessment ballot will be mailed out to property owners on August 15, 2014 and there will be a public hearing on fire assessment and tabulation of ballots. It is essential that residents of Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Morgan Territory, and Bethel Island attend the August 4th meeting, 6:30pm, Oakley City Council Chambers, 3231 Main Street, Oakley, CA. to oppose the unconstitutional benefit assessment, and to contact the fire chief and board of directors to oppose the assessment.

    The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District is facing future increases in pensions and salaries. The operating budget projections for 2013-2014 show that salaries/benefits are $9.4 million and will jump to $12.7 million in 2018-2019. Revenues in 2013-14 are $12.8 million and will remain at $10.1 million in 2018-2019. Spiraling pension costs is forcing the district to cut services to pay for pension benefits.

    East County Fire Protection Budget and Other Financials:  http://www.eccfpd.org/documents/financial/index.htm

    Sacramento Bee Editorial:  Metro Fire chief makes right choice to pull tax.

    http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/10/6311182/editorial-metro-fire-chief-makes.html

     Sacrament Bee: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/05/15/6406421/taxpayer-group-plans-to-challenge.html

    Contact the East County Fire Chief and Members of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board to Withdraw their Proposed Benefit Assessment Because it’s Unconstitutional:

    Fire Chief
    Hugh Henderson
    Tel: (925) 240-2131

    E-mail:  HHenderson@eccfpd.org

     To Contact East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board Members:

    East Contra Costa Fire Protection District

    Administrative Office
    134 Oak Street
    Brentwood, CA 94513
    (925) 634-3400 - Phone

    (925) 634-1423 - Fax

    Chair - Joel Bryant - jbryant@eccfpd.org

    Ronald Johansen- rjohansen@eccfpd.org

    Kevin Bouillon- kbouillon@eccfpd.org

    Greg Cooper - gcooper@eccfpd.org

    Robert Kenny- rkenny@eccfpd.org

    Jonathan Michaelson- jmichaelson@eccfpd.org

    Cheryl Morgan - cmorgan@eccfpd.org

    Stephen Smith- ssmith@eccfpd.org

    Joe Young - jyoung@eccfpd.org

  • 09 Jul 2014 1:53 PM | Anonymous

    Contra Costa County Administrator Discusses 2014-2015 Budget Concerns and Priorities

    On June 27th, Contra Costa Administrator David Twa gave a fiscal presentation in front of the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association breakfast meeting. Recently the county adopted its yearly 2014-2015 budget. The fiscal year is from July 1st to June 30th. Twa monitors the expenses and revenue with needed adjustments.

    He cited optimism in the county such as a balanced budget three years in a row. The county recently paid off a pension obligation bond worth $32.9 million. OPEB (Other Post Employee Benefits) costs were managed. Fund balance increased and a Standard & Poor’s rating increase to AAA.

    However, Twa citied various concerns within the county. The list includes slow economic recovery, state wall of debt, labor negotiations, increased cost of benefits, limited resources, pension liability, fire (structure and funding), Doctor’s Hospital debt, etc. Twa cited how pensions rose $53 million despite paying one pension obligation bond. The county’s other pension obligation bond worth $47.32 million matures June of 2022.

    The county’s pension liabilities are estimated at $3 billion. OPEB liability was reduced from $2.6 billion to under $1 billion since 2006. Total OPEB trust assets are $129.4 million as of December 2013.

    Total revenue is $1.36 billion. General purpose revenue is $351.9 million. Federal revenue is $264.3 million. State revenue is 307.3 million. Other local revenue is $432.79 million. Total expenditures have risen from $1,103,000,000 (2003-2004) to 1,353,000,000 (2014-15). 57% of the budget expense is salaries and benefits while 30% is services and supplies.

    To view the recent 2014-2015 county budget, go to: http://www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/DocumentCenter/View/30466

  • 10 Jun 2014 3:49 PM | Anonymous

    The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to conduct a poll for a countywide half cent sales tax. After the defeat of Measure C, the West Contra Costa Healthcare District nursing staff is urging action for a sales tax to avoid shutdown. Supervisor Piepho and Andersen voiced strong opposition towards the countywide sales tax. The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association questioned the proposed sales tax and what it will fund. Contra Costa County has a combined $3.2 billion unfunded pension liability debt. CoCoTax questioned if it was being used to pay for the pensions. Questions were not answered by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

     

    On May 30 and June 5, the nurses held a public town hall meeting in Hercules and Pleasant Hill for public outreach to keep Doctor’s Medical Hospital open with a countywide sales tax. The county cites how Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Alameda counties have a similar half cent sales tax. At the same time, many local Contra Costa cities such as Walnut Creek, Pinole and Richmond are considering Nov. sales tax ballot measures. The figure can be more than 10% for some cities. It is important to note that Contra Costa County will soon have some of the highest sales taxes in the state of California.

     

    On Tuesday, June 3rd, the board of supervisors authorized $45,000 to conduct a countywide poll for a Nov. 2014 countywide sales tax. It requires the final vote of four supervisors to submit for a countywide sales tax.

     

    To voice concerns about high sales taxes in Contra Costa County, please contact your supervisor:

     

    District I: Supervisor John Gioia (Represents Richmond, El Cerrito, San Pablo)

    Tel:510-231-8686

    E-mail: http://www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/forms.aspx?fid=120

     

    District II: Supervisor Candace Andersen (Lamorinda, San Ramon, Danville, portions of Walnut Creek)

    Tel:925-957-8860

    E-mail: candace.andersen@bos.cccounty.us

     

    District III: Supervisor Mary Piepho (Brentwood, portions of Antioch, Oakley, Discovery Bay)

    Tel: 925-252-4500

    E-mail: Dist3@BOS.CCCounty.us

     

    District IV: Supervisor Karen Mitchoff (Concord, Pleasant Hill, Clayton, portions of Walnut Creek)

    Tel:925-521-7100

    E-mail: SupervisorMitchoff@bos.cccounty.us

     

    District V: Supervisor Federal Glover (portions of Pinole/Antioch, Hercules, Martinez, Pittsburg, Rodeo)

    Tel:510-262-8800

    E-mail: district5@bos.cccounty.us

  • 10 Jun 2014 3:46 PM | Anonymous

    On June 3rd there were two school bonds on the ballot in Contra Costa County. The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association opposed both Measure E (Contra Costa Community College District) and Measure H (West Contra Costa School District). For both measures, CoCoTax wrote ballot arguments and rebuttals. Measure E is a $450 million bond while Measure H is a $270 million bond.

    Measure H failed to pass on Tuesday with a 54.60% NO vote. Measure E narrowly passed with a 56.69% Yes vote. 55% is required to pass school construction related bonds.

    Due to the Measure H defeat, it had a ripple effect in defeating Measure L, a $2 million bond (Kensington Police Protection and Community Services District). It also led to many residents opposing Measure E.

    As we look to the November 4, 2014 election, it’s important to remember that new tax measures are lining up for approval. Supporting CoCoTax via membership or donation helps those who wish to speak to do so with more impact and sometimes it can change the outcome.

    Thank you and congratulations to all those who helped on the opposition to Measure E and Measure H. Your hard work made all the difference in the world.

  • 28 May 2014 3:00 PM | Anonymous

    The Antioch City Council passed a motion for a November 4th rental tax.

    Landlords are opposed to the upcoming rental measure. The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association offered opposition to the rental tax. CoCoTax uncovered Antioch's spiraling pension costs as the problem to their budget woes.

    On Nov 26, 2012, Dan Boreinstein wrote a column, " Antioch rushing to increase pension benefits." The column mentions how Antioch increased pension benefits to Antioch police officers without a cost analysis to its budget.

    At Nov 2012, Antioch had a $59 million dollar of debt for unfunded pension benefits which equals 2.5 years of payroll.

    Ex-Antioch City Manager Jim Jakel and human resources director Michelle Fitzer did not address key issues in 2012.

    On April 2014, the Anitoch Herald wrote an article, "Antioch Council grapples with budget, how to spend Measure C funds." Antioch City Manager Steve Duran said, " In 2008, the typical cost of a police officer, salary and benefits, was $140, 495 and (in the fiscal year ending in 2015), that number is $192, 445, " he said. "That's about a 37% increase per officer...that is the bulk of the cost."

    CoCoTax spoke to the May 27th Antioch City Council on its unfunded spiraling pension costs and to reconsider the rental tax proposal. In response, Antioch City Manager Steve Duran how CoCoTax should be quiet if it has no plan.


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