City manager addresses tax concerns

City Manager Ken Frank at the Sept. 21 council meeting commented on a council candidate's statements that might imply that the council has illegally taxed the residents.

Frank was referring to statements made by candidate Emanuel Patrascu, who called fees for sewer service a tax.

"There have been reports in newspapers that a candidate has stated that the council increased property taxes," Frank said. "I don't know where that is coming from."

"The council can't raise property taxes without a vote of the people. They can't even raise sewer fees without a public hearing."

In July, the Council placed the sewer service charges and trash collection fees on the tax roll, as is done every year in July.

A decision was made several years ago to raise sewer fees over a period of time, and it was done after public notice and after a protest period.

The Council cannot raise taxes without an election and cannot raise sewer fees without a notice to everyone in town and a public hearing which would not be held until spring, Frank said.

The council did adopt on April 20 a 10-year capital improvement program for the city's sewer fund, which Frank said might have confused Petrascu.

That funding would require about a 10% increase, spread over several years if approved, but the Council did not actually increase fees. The motion was for staff to come back with a discussion of options, including taking all or part of the necessary funds from the Capital Improvement Fund.

There was no property tax increase and no sewer fee increase, Frank said.

The council also adopted a concept plan that would require additional revenue but that will come back for a public hearing in the spring, Frank said.


Mayor Elizabeth Pearson announced this week that she has been endorsed by the Orange County Taxpayers Assn. Political Action Committee.

A letter from the committee stated that Pearson shares the committee's mission to ensure that taxes and tax-supported progame are fair, understandable, cost-effective and good for the economy.

Village Laguna, which held a meeting on Monday to discuss its participation in the election, has made no announcement to date.

Campaign Calendar

*Top of the World Neighborhood Assn., South Laguna Civic Assn. and Temple Hills Community Assn. is scheduled to present the fourth and — and still last — city council candidates forum at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20 in the City Council Chambers.

The meeting is open to the public.

"Questions will be accepted from the audience — no speeches, just questions," said Gene Felder, a member of the Top of the World association.

*Dennis Morin will host Mayor Elizabeth Pearson's final fundraiser on Sunday at his home, known as the Rock House. The dress code is flip flops. Parking is available at the Aliso Creek Beach lot, but bring quarters: this is not a city lot, advices Pearson.

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