To the Editor: Urges no vote on park tax

All Ridgecrest property owners should vote no on the city’s proposed Parks and Recreation District. This is just another act by a city that believes the people have too much money and that their pocketbooks are there to be fleeced at will, rather than live within its budget. This, like every other tax increase the city has put in place, claims “Trust me,” and will end up being general fund money.

Measure Lpromised 90 percent would go to roads and 10 percent to police. However in a few years more than 60 percent was being used for police. The sewer tax was only approved to set money aside to build a new sewer plant approximately 40 years ago, but that changed too.

Once this district is created it is almost impossible to eliminate. Even the ballot sent out was designed to be confusing. It should have been clear: “Do your want a PRD added to your property taxes, yes or no?” The included documentation was also slanted and did not allow for opposition.1. I have asked the City Council many times to put the idea of a PRD on the council agenda so that idea could be fully discussed identifying why it was needed, how the new moneys were going to be spent, what the benefit was to the general public in addition to the current facilities, what costs would be recovered by those who use the facilities, etc., which the council refused to even consider.

2. The list of improvements included with the ballot were not put before the public for discussion or consideration, something else I requested. Apparently this was left to the special-interest groups who are receiving 90 percent of the benefits from this new tax.

3. The PRD the city is attempting to put in place is a clear violation of the California Constitution, but the council did not want to hear it or even discuss it. When I tried to ask questions on this issue at the council meeting, the mayor refused to allow my questions to be answered.

4. In order to form a lawful PRD, the city must show that the property owners are receiving a special benefit above an beyond that of the general public, which it has not shown and cannot show. The engineering report for the PRD does not identify any special benefit to the property owners.

This special tax will only benefits about 20 percent of the city residents who use the facilities. The city admitted it could have replaced the pool for $172,000 a year, but then it could not have used it being closed to justify a new tax. Vote no on the PRA, unless you love new taxes.

Ronald L. Porter

Story First Published: 2019-04-12