Twice in the last year, voters in California City have said “No” to a parcel tax that is responsible for funding local police and fire services.
The the 1970s, land owners in California City have paid a $150 parcel tax on every property they own in addition to their own standard property taxes.
It’s been frustrating expense for many.
“I’d like to keep this land, but I’m not paying this expensive parcel tax,” resident DJ Twohig said.
It’s been so frustrating that residents voted it out even at the expense of most of the city’s firefighters and police officers.
“I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like here. It’s actually scary to think about that,” California City police officer Michael Kelakios said.
Over the last several weeks, the weight of a proposed 41 city employee layoffs, have woken some voters up.
David Stafford, a California City resident for 29 years, is one of those voters.
“We’ve got a chance at $153. The people that I know the group I talk to and talk with, they’ll pay the $153,” he said.
Many believe property owners will vote “yes” so long as the council agreed to charge $153 a year, but not the $182.50 they were proposing.
“That $30 will make a difference,” Stafford said.
The council agreed and also agreed to delay any layoffs — risking $1.4 million in debt to keep any city employee from losing their job — at least for now.
The July 31 election for the parcel tax is a day California City’s mayor described as a “live or die moment.”
California City councilmember Gene Stump said he hopes voters come out and vote to keep the parcel tax.
“I hope they get out and vote and realize that Measure C is for you,” Stump said.
California City now has exactly two months to consider their vote before election day.