The city clerk of Culver City filed a legal action in a bid to remove what she maintains is misleading information submitted in opposition to a Nov. 3 ballot measure that seeks to replace monies lost to the city by the coronavirus.
City Clerk Jeremy Green brought the petition Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court against Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan regarding Measure RE and the language submitted by opponents, which states in capital letters, “Measure RE contains a sneaky provision. The City Council can broaden the tax by a majority vote.”
The opposition statement further states that if the City Council “wants more of our tax dollars, with a majority vote, they can lower (Measure) RE’s $1.5 million threshold to $500,000 or any level, raising taxes on even more residents and small business owners.”
According to Green, Measure RE “expressly prohibits the City Council from amending the ordinance to increase the authorized tax rate.”
Measure RE came about after the coronavirus caused many of Culver City’s longtime revenue streams to fall short of expectations, including sales taxes, transient occupancy taxes, parking revenue and business license fees, the petition states. The City Council reduced expenses and limited city services to deal with the loss of revenue.
But despite the city’s best efforts to develop an economic restoration plan, a full economic recovery is years away and the City Council has concluded that it cannot rely on its traditional revenue streams to restore its financial health and preserve essential services, the petition states.
On Aug. 3, the City Council voted to place Measure RE on the Nov. 3 ballot. If approved by voters, it would increase real property transfer taxes for properties valued at $1.5 million or more and set progressive transfer tax rates based on valuation thresholds exceeding $1.5 million, according to the petition.
Measure RE would allow the City Council to amend the law provided that the change does not result in an increase in the authorized tax rate. The measure also would authorize the city manager to adjust the valuation thresholds for inflation, provided that they may not be reduced below the amounts established in the ordinance, the petition states.
“Together, these provisions make clear that neither the city manager, nor the City Council, may increase the real property transfer tax rate,” the suit says.
A hearing on the city’s petition is scheduled for Friday.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: