Monday, May 16, 2022
55.8 F
Oxnard
More

    Latest Posts

    Setting Brushfires of Freedom by Don Jans

    Oxnard Ordered to Repay $34 Million

     

     

    Breaking News! Victory in court today!

    The City of Oxnard had been skimming as much as $7 million per year from the City’s three utility enterprises (water, wastewater and solid waste)  and diverting the money to the general fund for what they call an Infrastructure Use Fee (IUF).

    Our contention has been that the IUF is an unlawful transfer scheme – really, a backdoor tax! – that violates the California Constitution, particularly Proposition 218.

    Back in 2016 we notified Oxnard City Hall of our concerns, but they were dismissed.

    We did not want to go to engage lawyers to fight about this. We make it a practice to give the City of Oxnard an opportunity to do the right thing on their own first.

    We then told City Hall in early 2017 that if they ceased their illegal practice of siphoning money from the utilities to the general fund, we would not insist that previous unlawful transfers be returned – which amounted to only $22 million at that time.

    Unfortunately, Oxnard City Hall would not talk to us! Instead, they wrote a memo falsely asserting their IUF to be legal  even when the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association – the authors of Proposition 218 – stated that it clearly was not.

    City Hall did not care they were breaking the law  and they continued siphoning more money, so our only option was to seek redress through the courts.

    We filed a lawsuit in March of 2017. It required over three years for our lawyer to collect evidence and depose witnesses.

    A hearing was held on October 1 of this year in front of Ventura County Superior Court Judge Matthew Guasco.

    Today, Judge Guasco issued his tentative decision in our favor, ordering the City of Oxnard to IMMEDIATELY repay all of the money siphoned since March 2014 – now over $34 million! – back to the City’s three utility enterprises.

    Read the ruling: 20201228131408

    The amount would have been more, if not for the three-year statute of limitations.

    In his written ruling, Guasco made reference to the study commissioned by the City that purported to justify the IUF … and concluded that even if the study had been admissible as evidence:

    • the consultant’s methodology and calculations were “entirely lacking in foundation, speculative, and deeply flawed,” and
    • the calculations appeared to be “arbitrary, capricious, unsupported by any foundational facts, and entirely speculative.”

    That pretty much says it all!

    Today, we happily celebrate our victory on behalf of Oxnard’s utility ratepayers, but remain sad that this whole ordeal was even necessary.

    The City was illegally confiscating these funds – and then raising our utility rates to make up for the so-called shortfall.

    This means that the City’s utility rates are inherently excessive, since they include the IUF in their cost structure, and thus the Proposition 218 violations continue.

    The City may want to talk to us about that.

    Aaron Starr

    [email protected]
    805-804-9101

    Paid for by Starr Coalition for Moving Oxnard Forward, 2130 Posada Drive, Oxnard, CA 93030 
     
    Moving Oxnard Forward · United States 


    Get Citizensjournal.us Headlines free  SUBSCRIPTION. Keep us publishing – DONATE

    - Advertisement -

    16 COMMENTS

    5 6 votes
    Article Rating
    Subscribe
    Notify of
    guest
    16 Comments
    Newest
    Oldest Most Voted
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
    Keith
    Keith
    1 year ago

    These guys have been in office why to long. Ok

    Dotty Pringle
    Dotty Pringle
    1 year ago

    Joe….Yes! Their fans will also cover for them to new residents and go on to write how wonderful they are. Their fans are part of the problem too! It’s more of a popularity contest than electing those qualified. This town is run by White Collar Criminals.

    Steve
    Steve
    1 year ago
    Reply to  Dotty Pringle

    Dotty:

    Those are strong words and — per a friend of mine who is an attorney — could be deemed “libelous per se”. I hope you have evidence to back up your claims.

    Joe
    Joe
    1 year ago

    So when is the city council going to explain what is going on? I know their fans say “this was created by the previous council members”. Did the current members know of this and think it was Ok to do?

    Jim bow
    Jim bow
    1 year ago

    So typical, calif DEMOCRAPS , killing our state with all their tricks for 60 years …. DUMP THEM ALL

    Keith
    Keith
    1 year ago
    Reply to  Jim bow

    Dem/ Republicans. THEY ARE ALL CROOKS

    Joan Lopez Fausset
    Joan Lopez Fausset
    1 year ago

    I applaud Aaron Starr and the Coalition for Moving Oxnard Forward! Lies, corruption, and greed by those who were elected. Keep up with watching and making elected officials accountable for their actions and decisions.

    Michael A.
    Michael A.
    1 year ago

    Those crazy a– pensions again. Gotta’ fund those crazy a– pensions. THANK GOD the voters fell for those exaggerations on measure E. Whew! what a relief. California voters are not citizens, their hostages and Oxnard may just be the camp where the hostages are kept.

    Jonathan Richter
    Jonathan Richter
    1 year ago

    Great job, Aaron!

    Dotty Pringle
    Dotty Pringle
    1 year ago

    Yes, one city council is an attorney too, maybe a disbar is in order!! We all knew they were skimming but it would have been nice to have info prior to elections.
    Now we must deal with more corruption at county level. Watch your 2nd Amendment Rights and more deals given to husbands/friends from this new Supervisor. Those (lead on Nd) who campaigned for her on local social media with their smear campaign showed no solid platform on their part. City Attorney should be fired!

    Steve
    Steve
    1 year ago

    It appears that Starr won this particular lawsuit at the trial court level.

    I note, however, that Starr lost his Measure M litigation at the Court of Appeals level after he had trumpeted his defeat of the City at the trial court level for a number of years. In the end, Starr lost the Measure M litigation at the court of appeals and his appeal to the California Supreme Court was rejected by the court. See articles at: https://tricountysentry.com/Article/Index/3739ef6e-fff9-44da-9764-bc546c92455f and https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/2020/10/14/court-grants-oxnard-appeal-deals-blow-aaron-starr/3646196001/.

    Douglas D Partello
    Douglas D Partello
    1 year ago
    Reply to  Steve

    In light of this illegal act of siphoning utility fund monies into the General Fund, bringing up the appeals judgement on Measure M seems like a weak response to ongoing wrongdoing by our City leaders. They made the argument for a ridiculous wastewater rate increase, for “the health and safety” of its citizens, all the while sneaking money out the back door to fill the gap in General Fund spending. Then, fearing Measure E not passing, approved the borrowing of $30 million from the three utility funds if necessary to fill the General Fund shortfall. Wonder how the appeals jurors feels now about the “decency” of the illegal acts of Oxnard leaders? There will always be those that attempt to defend the indefensible with distractions, and deflections.

    Not Given
    Not Given
    1 year ago

    Santa Paula? What does your exorbitant Water/Sewer/Trash bounty fund? Certainly not infrastructure!
    Your potholes on Harvard are criminal.

    Sheryl Hamlin
    1 year ago
    Reply to  Not Given

    In 2017, former City Manager doubled the transfers from the Enterprise Funds (sewer and water) to the General Fund for “services rendered”. This had traditionally been about $1 million a year, but he raised it to over $2 million. This amount has never been audited….

    https://www.citizensjournal.us/santa-paula-creative-use-enterprise-funds-carries-city-finances/

    Mark Savalla
    Mark Savalla
    1 year ago

    Well, well well. How about them apples. My question is what kind of people on the Oxnard City Council with its availability to all their lawyers made this outlandish decision to rip off the tax payers. What else are they doing? I would also like to know if the cities attorney is going to be fired or given a raise. This stinks to high heaven and is indicative of a criminal cancer in the leadership of this city.

    Geoffrey Galetti
    Geoffrey Galetti
    1 year ago

    Bravo!

    Latest Posts

    advertisement
    advertisement

    Don't Miss

    Stay in touch

    To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.