Voter’s Edge California
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KPBS Voters Guide@KPBSNews
November 6, 2018 — Elección General de California

City of Banning
Measure P - Majority Approval Required

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Resultados electorales

No se aprueba

3,983 votos si (48.82%)

4,175 votos no (51.18%)

100% de distritos activos (10/10).

8,158 boletas electorales serán contadas.

Unrestricted General Revenue Tax
— undefined

To allow approximately $2,325,000 annually for unrestricted general revenue purposes such as police, fire, paramedics, parks, and senior services while stabilizing electric utility rates, shall an ordinance be adopted authorizing a transfer not to exceed 7.5% of annual electric utility gross revenues to the City's General Fund until December 1, 2021 and 5.5% thereafter, for unlimited duration, and establishing a rate freeze for 3 years, except as needed for financial emergency or bond covenants?

¿Qué es esta propuesta?

Información básica sobre la iniciativa de ley — Información oficial sobre esta iniciativa

Análisis del analista legislativo / Proposal

City Attorney, City of Banning

Measure P was placed on the ballot by the Banning City Council. If approved by the voters, Measure P would adopt an Ordinance which affects the electric utility owned and operated by the City of Banning (“City”).

The City Council is authorized to set electric service rates for City customers in accordance with applicable State and local law. Until December 1, 2021, the Ordinance would cap electric service rates at current levels established under Resolution No. 2013-45, except under certain circumstances. The City Council could only increase electric service rates under two circumstances: (1) the City Council adopts a resolution by a two-thirds vote to approve the rate increase because an emergency in the electric utility requires the rate increase; or (2) the City Council adopts a resolution by a majority vote to approve the rate increase because the rate increase is necessary to meet a covenant under its outstanding debt obligations that are payable from electric service revenues.

After December 1, 2021, the City Council could increase electric utility rates, but it may not back-bill or apply new rates retroactively. The City Council could reduce electric service rates at any time.

The Ordinance would authorize, but not require, the City Council to transfer certain revenues from the City’s electric utility to the City’s General Fund. The General Fund pays for general City services such as fire, paramedic and police protection; road repairs; youth programs; and parks and recreation. Measure P requires simple majority approval of the voters to pass. If Measure P is approved, it would take effect ten days following certification of the election results.

Until December 1, 2021, the City Council could authorize a general fund transfer of up to seven and one-half percent (7.5%) of the electric utility’s gross revenues. Thereafter, the City Council could authorize a general fund transfer of up to five and one-half percent (5.5%) of the electric utility’s gross revenues. A general fund transfer would exclude: (1) electric utility revenues currently paid to the City’s general fund to offset costs borne by the general fund to operate the electric utility (e.g., City staff time); and (2) legally required pass through payments and obligations collected by the electric utility, such as the State Public Benefits Charge, California State Energy Surcharge Tax and Cap and Trade proceeds.

A "Yes" vote would cap electric service rates at current levels through December 1, 2021, unless an exception applies, and authorize the City Council to transfer certain electric utility revenues to the City’s general fund at rates described in the Ordinance.

A "No" vote would maintain the City Council’s discretion to increase electric service rates beyond current levels before December 1, 2021, and would not provide voter authorization to make general fund transfers, except to the extent permitted by current state law.

Kevin G. Ennis
City Attorney

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure P. If you desire a copy of Measure P, please call the City Clerk’s office at (951) 922-3102 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Argumento A FAVOR

Vote YES on Measure P to maintain essential City of Banning services and protect quality of life, with NO increase to electric rates for three (3) years.

Measure P is on the ballot to obtain voter authorization for a critical step that makes possible what we all want for Banning: to keep our City safe, receive help in emergencies, and maintain quality parks and streets.

Specifically, passage of Measure P will:

  1. Freeze City of Banning electric rates for three years.
  2. With NO increase in electric rates, authorize the City to transfer a limited amount of funding each year from the City's Electric Utility to the City's General Fund, for a period of ONLY three years.
  1. Approve items 1 and 2 above by a vote of the people.

The City faced major expense increases in 2018, including increases to the Fire Services contract of $500,000, to CaIPERS pre-funded costs of $500,000, and to the Animal Control contract of $50,000. The cost increases coupled with the expiration of the City's MOU with Riverside County to fund 4 Police Officers, causing another $450,000 cost increase, brings a total City expense increase of $1,500,000 million.

100% of Measure P funds will stay IN Banning. An independent oversight committee, mandatory audits and annual public reports will ensure funds are spent properly. This Measure will allow approximately $2.325 million dollars to pay for critical public safety and emergency services to our community.

The City's history of clean annual audits and no financial wrong-doing is echoed by taking Measure P to the voters.

The City's Budget & Finance Adhoc Committee comprised of Mayor Moyer, Mayor Pro Tern Peterson and Treasurer McQuown, recommended this measure to Council. Council voted unanimous to place Measure P on the ballot.

George Moyer, Mayor
Arthur L. Welch, Council Member
Deborah Franklin, Council Member

— City Clerk, City of Banning

Argumento EN CONTRA

Measure P is asking electric customers to tax themselves voluntarily for things that have

nothing to do with electricity. Measure P tax revenue is strictly intended for the City's general operations. The Measure is proposing to use the electric utility as a cash cow to fund police, fire, paramedics, parks, etc. .

Do you want your electric bill to fund these services? These services should be funded out of the City's sales tax and property tax revenues. But due to City Council mismanagement and corruption, millions in sales tax revenue is being recklessly given away by the City of Banning. For example, a recent Grand Jury investigation determined that the City Council gave a 28-year long sales tax break to a large auto dealership. With Measure P the city is trying to make up for lost revenue by taxing the little guy —you, the electric customer.

Also, don't be fooled by the proposed 3-year "Rate Freeze": it is nothing but a clever diversion. In fact, a "NO" vote will actually lower your electric bill.

The city is not telling you that for years they have been stealing from you by adding a similar percentage to your electric bill, and applying it to the very general fund purposes that are listed in Measure P, (police, fire, paramedics, parks, etc.). Changes in the law now force the city to seek voter approval in order to continue this long-standing practice.

Voting "NO" on Measure P will have the effect that the City can no longer steal from you by inflating your electric bill with charges that are unrelated to electricity. Therefore a "NO" vote will make your electric bill go down, not up.

Don M. Peterson, Mayor Pro Tem
Jerry Westholder, City Council Candidate
G. David Ellis, City Council Candidate
John Hagen, Ret. San Bernardino County Sheriff
Ingeborg Schuler, Planning Commission

— City Clerk, City of Banning

Refutación al argumento A FAVOR

Regarding Measure P, voters ought to be aware of the following facts:

  1. Any suggestions that the Banning Electric Utility has a “history of clean annual audits” is a blatant lie. In fact, the Electric Utility has NEVER received a full audit in its history.
  2. Banning's City Treasurer, Dr. John McQuown, has expressly refused to sign the argument in favor of this Measure.
  3. Politicians George Moyer, Art Welch and Debbie Franklin are the only proponents of this Measure. Those are the very same individuals who helped create an unprecedented 28-year long sales tax break to benefit a major auto dealership, after receiving generous campaign contributions from its operators.

Now faced with a shortage in general fund tax revenue, these “tax-and-spend” politicians want to create a new tax which will make electric customers pay for their reckless fiscal decisions. Vote NO on P !


Don M. Peterson, Mayor Pro Tem

Jerry Westholder, City Council Candidate
G. David Ellis, City Council Candidate
John Hagen, Ret. San Bernardino County Sheriff
Ingeborg Schuler, Planning Commission

— City Clerk, City of Banning

Refutación al argumento EN CONTRA

The Argument Against Measure P is a purposeful misrepresentation of the facts and needs to be corrected. The City's highest priority is Public Safety — Police and Fire Services to citizens of Banning.

Correction #1 — The 3 Grand Jury investigations initiated by Councilman Don Peterson found NO mismanagement nor corruption, nor criminal, or illegal activity by the City. The investigations only cost the City tens of thousands dollars in staff time and resources.

Correction #2 — Councilman Don Peterson moved to approve a 10-year sales tax rebate agreement for a local auto dealership, and it was unanimously approved by City Council. This enabled the dealership to invest in land and building expansions and improvements, resulting in doubled auto sales. This public-private partnership provides ongoing increased property and sales tax revenue to the City's general fund.

Correction #3 — A No-Vote does not mean lower electric bills. There has been no rate-decrease taken to Council, nor has the City approved any rate change or decrease. The City's cost for power delivery is increasing from $386k to $3.4 million over 10 years, so the cost to operate electric is increasing.

Correction #4 — The past LEGAL transfers from electric to the general fund have been used to pay for Police and Fire, the City's largest expenses.

Until our City grows through additional rooftops, there is no additional revenue source. WITHOUT PASSING MEASURE P, the City faces MAJOR CUTS TO POLICE, FIRE,  and ALL CITY SERVICES.


George Moyer, Mayor
Arthur L. Welch, Council Member
Deborah Franklin, Council Member

— City Clerk, City of Banning
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