December 10, 2003

TODAY IS D-DAY FOR LOCAL SERVICES

 

Local Leaders Travel to Sacramento and Demand Immediate Action

to Reimburse Cities and Counties for Lost Vehicle License Fee Revenues

 

Lodi, CA --- Dozens of local elected officials, public safety, health, labor and community leaders traveled to the State Capitol today and demanded immediate action from Governor Schwarzenegger and the Legislature to reimburse cities and counties for reduced Vehicle License Fee (VLF) payments.  Among the group were several officials from Lodi, Galt, Stockton, Manteca, Tracy, and Lathrop.

 

December 10th marks the first day cities and counties will be receiving reduced monthly VLF payments from the State as the result of the recent roll-back of the VLF.  In all, VLF payments to cities and counties are being reduced by more than two-thirds beginning this month – stripping local governments of more than $300 million per month dedicated for local services.

 

“To call this a funding crisis is a dramatic understatement,” said City Manager Dixon Flynn “Beginning TODAY, the local services that our residents demand and deserve are in peril. We need immediate action from legislators and the Governor. Every day of inaction jeopardizes local services.”

 

The coalition of local representatives urged immediate support for any of three pending measures that would appropriate a backfill for lost VLF revenues. The three measures, introduced with

bi-partisan support, are SBX5 1 (Brulte), ABX5 3 (Cox) and ABX5 7 (Lowenthal). To date, no action has been taken on these measures.

 

“The clock is ticking. Legislators and the Governor must act NOW to protect local services and local residents,” said Lodi’s Fire Chief Mike Pretz. “It appears that the Governor and the legislature have failed the citizens of California.  REAL local services, REAL jobs and REAL people are at risk without immediate action.”

 

Public safety representatives warned of the impact to local police, fire and emergency medical services without immediate action.

 

“In Lodi, 46% of local government general revenues go directly to pay for police, fire, and other public safety services and personnel,” said Deputy City Manager Janet Keeter  “While local governments and local public safety agencies will do everything they can to avoid layoffs or cuts to public safety programs and services, there is simply no way to avoid the fact that the public’s health and safety will be put at risk if lawmakers fail to act.”

 

Debbie Olson of the League of California Cities said appropriating a backfill is not only consistent with existing law that requires reimbursement to cities and counties, but it’s also consistent with promises made by Governor Schwarzenegger and legislators from both parties. 

 

“It’s time for the legislature and Governor to make good on their promises to protect local services,” said Lodi’s Mayor Larry Hansen. “The time to act is now. We’re rapidly heading toward a State-wide catastrophe that affects all levels of government.”

 

Contact:  Janet S. Keeter, Deputy City Manager, (209) 333-6700

 

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