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Utility Tax May Be on Ballot

The Rolling Hills Estates City Council has directed City Atty. Richard Terzian to draft a resolution placing a utility users tax proposal on the November ballot. The proposal is designed to raise money to buy public open space.

Although the proposal drew some opposition at two sparsely attended public hearings, there was enough support to convince the council Tuesday that voters should make the final decision.

“All of us have given lip service to preserving open space,” said resident David Pierson. “Now it’s time to put our money where our mouth is.”

The resolution will be considered Aug. 8 by the council, which is facing an Aug. 11 ballot submission deadline.

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Terzian said that because the tax will raise money to buy land, it may legally be construed as a special tax requiring approval of two-thirds of the voters. The council has yet to designate the percentage and duration of the tax. However, the hearings focused on a blue ribbon committee’s recommendation for a 5% tax lasting five or 10 years. According to the city, each 1% would raise $125,000, which would go into a land-purchase fund.


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