Beware – County Plans New ‘Clean Water’ Tax

To the editor:

On December 6, 2011, the Board of Supervisors adopted election procedures for Prop 218, a new property-related fee which will be imposed throughout Contra Costa County. This is apparently a parcel tax disguised as a “Clean Water Fee.”

A public hearing to discuss the proposed fee has been scheduled for February 7, 2012. Written notices were allegedly mailed in mid-December 2011 to record owners of each identified parcel (or everyone who owns property in Contra Costa County). I own my home in Antioch, but, to date, have not received my notice. Have you?

At the public hearing, the Board will consider all protests against this fee. If written protests are presented by a majority of property owners, then the fee will not be imposed. Otherwise, ballots will be mailed 45 days prior to election close date of April 6, 2012. A majority vote by mail-in voters is sufficient to impose this new fee.

The election process to approve Prop 218 is a farce. It was designed to avoid detection rather than truly give the people a voice. The county has more than 1 million people. How many are property owners? Could the chambers of the Board of Supervisors accommodate all property owners? Why require written protest at a public hearing? Why the urgency and not wait for a regular election? How much more will election by mail cost? Do we really need to burden people struggling to pay their mortgage with a new tax?

Noticeably, District 3 Supervisor Mary Piepho has immediately started her campaign for approval of Prop 218 through her December 7, 2011 article appearing in Contra Costa Times titled “Delta At Risk And Needs Our Help Now.” She has also hit the campaign trail speaking before the Antioch City Council on the urgent needs of the delta without actually mentioning the Board of Supervisors’ plan to tax property owners with a “Clean Water Fee.”

Once imposed, this tax will be with you for ten years. On February 7, 2012, you have a choice; speak up (and write down your protest); or get out your checkbook.

Cynthia Ruehlig

2 Comments to “Beware – County Plans New ‘Clean Water’ Tax”

  1. Allen Payton says:

    Thank you for the letter apprising us of this, Cynthia. We’re looking into it and so far have found this website about the initiative: Also, former Antioch Mayor Don Freitas is the Project Manager heading up the effort for the county’s Clean Water Program. The questions I’ll be asking him is how is this paid for now, why isn’t it a priority in the county budget and and why is a tax needed?
    Allen Payton

  2. Lisa Spadini says:

    Go get ‘um Big Guy!!

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