A judge Tuesday temporarily blocked certification of Measure C — the Nov. 2 ballot question that would allow the City of Riverside to continue charging its electric customers more than just the cost of providing electricity, with the additional revenue going to the city’s general fund.
The transfers to the general fund amount to about $40 million a year, or about 14% of the city’s budget, officials said. In the past, the money has been used to fund all manner of city services, including police, fire, street repairs and park maintenance.
“Yes” votes were leading by a margin of 16,078 to 13,420, with only a simple majority needed for the measure to pass.
Passage would amend the city’s charter to allow continued surcharges and fund transfers. About 100,000 electric customers are affected.
But a group of residents filed a lawsuit in September, saying the measure should not have been on last week’s special election ballot. They say it violates a state law requiring tax measures to be brought forth only during general elections.
On Tuesday, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Harold W. Hopp granted a motion by an attorney representing Riversiders Against Increased Taxes, the group that filed the lawsuit.
Hopp’s order blocked certification of Measure C election results until at least Jan. 7, when the court is scheduled to here arguments in the case.
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