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Roseville may repeal 'crash tax'

Councilman Allard says tax has failed
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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The City of Roseville may repeal its “crash tax” following a suggestion by Councilman John Allard during Wednesday’s council meeting.

The tax requires a non-resident to pay the costs of Roseville fire department’s response if the driver is in a car wreck within city limits.

“I think it was an experiment — let’s try it and see how it works,” Allard said.

But the experiment has failed, he said, raising only $40,000 since its implementation about 18 months ago. The city expected the tax to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars, he said. Instead, the ordinance has been difficult to enforce.

“It sends a message to people that Roseville is not open for business,” said Councilwoman Carol Garcia. “It doesn’t encourage people to come and shop (here).”

Councilman Tim Herman, Vice Mayor Susan Rohan and Mayor Pauline Roccucci agreed that the crash tax possibly deters visitors. City Manager Ray Kerridge said staff would bring this item before the council at the next meeting, Wednesday, Feb. 16.

Here’s a look at some other items approved during the Feb. 2 meeting.

Call for bids for monitoring well project: In 2007, Roseville, Lincoln, Placer County Water Agency and California American Water Company launched the Western Placer County Groundwater Management Plan. The plan identified the need for monitoring wells to track groundwater elevation and quality. Six wells will be installed, costing an estimated $333,100, some of which will be paid for with grant funding.

Roadway resurfacing project with City of Lincoln: For a fee, Roseville will provide design, construction management and inspection services to resurface streets in Lincoln during 2011. Lincoln has a budget of $2.1 million for the project and will pay all contractor costs for construction work.

Grant application to U.S. Bureau of Reclamation: Roseville’s environmental utilities department will submit a grant application in the amount of $70,000 for water conservation projects — $40,000 to expand the commercial and multi-family toilet rebate program and $30,000 to expand the commercial landscape irrigation efficiency program.

CalFire urban forestry grant program: The city will use an outside consultant to develop its Urban Forest Management Plan. The city will apply for a $100,000 grant from CalFire and contribute $40,000 for the project.

Professional agreement with Castrovilla, Inc.: This will provide incentive funding to increase the energy efficiency of small businesses with “reach-in” food and drink refrigeration units. About 110 of Roseville’s small businesses will be able to take advantage of Castrovilla’s “Keep Your Cool” program at little or no cost. This will help businesses reduce their energy consumption by about 2,000,000 kilowatt-hours per year, saving more than $250,000 annually. Funding for this program comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Budget adjustment: In October, a jury found City of Roseville liable for 17 percent of a $6.39 million lawsuit filed by Thomas Avery against MV Public Transportation, Inc., Roseville and Ricon Corporation. Avery is a quadriplegic who fell off a city bus and hit his head on pavement in 2008, sustaining major injuries. The city is responsible for paying $1,075,000. The city intends to pursue full reimbursement from MV Public Transportation’s insurance company.

Revisions to municipal code: Changes include reducing the timeframe to 30 days for setting hearings on compliance orders, deeming buildings vacant for 120 days “abandoned” and adding quantitative measures to determine code violations — for example, grass in excess of 12 inches. City staff said this change will reduce processing time to achieve compliance within 45 days. Currently, the process takes typically 120 days.

Strategic improvement fund (SIF) loan documentation: Following Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies, Roseville’s agency set about identifying “legally obligated debt.” If agencies are eliminated, these debts will be paid for by future tax increments. The city will transfer SIF loans to the agency and document these transfers so money will be allocated for the repayment of these debts in the amount of $18,774,347.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com.