HERCULES -- The deadline is Tuesday to submit arguments for or against a June 4 ballot measure that would raise the city's Utility User Tax by two percentage points, from the current 6 percent on utility bills to 8 percent.

The tax increase would sunset after five years; the extra 2 percent would raise an additional $1 million a year for the general fund and would largely offset a structural deficit that recently was estimated at about $1.2 million a year. As a general tax measure, it requires a simple majority of votes to pass.

The City Council approved putting the tax measure on the June ballot by a 4-1 vote on Feb. 26 over the dissent of Councilman Dan Romero, who wanted a term longer than five years for the tax increase.

The tax increase is supposed to restore Hercules to financial stability and prevent drastic cuts to police, youth and senior programs and other city services, according to the ballot language.

Arguments should be in block form, up to 300 words long, typed or word processed, and should avoid italics, bold-faced type, underlining and capital-letter words. Bulleted lines are allowed.

The arguments must be submitted by 5 p.m. March 12 to the Hercules City Clerk at Hercules City Hall, 111 Civic Drive.

Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760 or tlochner@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at twitter.com/tomlochner.



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