Utility Users Tax (UUT) / Measure F
The Utility Users Tax, first approved by Arcata voters in 1996, generates about $900,000 for the City's general fund and is a major component of public safety funding. It is a 3% tax collected on utilities such as electricity, gas, telecommunications, water and sewer services.
- What is a Utility Users Tax (UUT)?
This is a tax approved by local voters, and collected on various utilities to raise funds for that jurisdiction. In Arcata, these funds are deposited into the General Fund and help ensure that cutbacks to city services such as police and road repairs and are kept to a minimum. The voters of Arcata have approved and renewed the UUT 4 times during the past 20 years.
- What is Measure F? What does it have to do with the UUT?
Arcata voters will see Measure F on their General Election ballot in November 2016. Measure F asks whether to renew the UUT at the current rate for another 8 years.
- What is the tax rate?
In Arcata the tax rate is 3%.
- Do other cities have a UUT? How do their rates compare to Arcata?
Over 150 cities in California have implemented a utility users tax as a local revenue source. Cities of similar size with a UUT include: Albany (6.5-7.0%); Artesia (4.9%); Oroville (4.5%); Pinole (8%), Santa Fe Springs (5%). In Humboldt County, Blue Lake has a UUT of 4%.
- How much revenue does the UUT generate annually for the City of Arcata?
Currently, this tax is generating $900,000 annually, which is 7% of the City’s general fund revenues.
- What is it charged on?
- Communication services – traditional telephone service, including long distance service and ancillary services such as call waiting.
- Prepaid or billed wireless/cellular phone service and internet telephony services such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
- Video or cable television services.
- Electricity and gas (natural or liquid).
- Water and sewer service.
- What essential local services does the UUT fund?
In Arcata, the bulk of UUT funds go to police and public safety services and to repairing potholes and maintaining roads. Essential local services maintained by the UUT include:
- Police response to over 36,000 calls each year
- 24-7 dispatcher communications center and 9-1-1 system
- Assigned policing for Plaza/Downtown, Valley West, Arcata Community Forest, Arcata Marsh, K-9 Units, Drug Task Force
- Animal control services
- Graffiti abatement
- Problem Oriented Policing projects
- Pavement and street surface improvement for 70 miles of city roads
- Maintaining and building new sidewalk
- Street light maintenance
- Building code enforcement and inspection
- Affordable housing programs which, with local partners, have helped create over 600 units affordable to low-income Arcatans
- Economic development programs supporting many local brand names through business assistance, facade, owner participation and Foodworks Culinary Center programs
- Maintaining over 100 acres of city parks and over 45 miles of trails
- Maintaining 8 sports fields used by over 28,000 players and attracting over 100,000 spectators each year
- Over 5,000 hours of recreation programs engaging 2,047 different registrants annually
- Over 1,800 hours of senior programs each year, including senior lunch, exercise and leisure programs
- Restoring Arcata's 40 miles of creeks for flood control and fish habitat
- 3 WiFi hot spots at City Hall, Arcata Community Center and Arcata Plaza
- Staff time to write grants to expand city services and stretch tax dollars.
- Who must pay the UUT?
The UUT is paid by all Arcata residents and businesses that are utility users. The tax is collected by the utility service providers, and remitted to the City monthly.
- Who is exempt from paying the UUT?
There are statutory exemptions and low-income exemptions available. The City, other local government agencies, state and federal agencies, public schools and state universities are not required to pay the tax. Service users who receive Low Income Rate Assistance (LIRA), a monthly discount given by a gas and/or electric corporation to eligible low income customers on their gas and electricity charges, are exempt from paying electricity and gas utility users taxes. Service users who receive "universal lifeline service," a monthly discount on the basic service charge given by a telephone company to eligible low-income customers on their basic telephone service, are exempt from paying the UUT on basic telephone service.
- Where can I go for additional information?
You can email the City Manager's Office for more information.
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