|Chevron May Rebate
Taxes To Richmond
July 17, 1997
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
Thursday, July 17,
RICHMOND A tentative deal between Richmond and Chevron has the company donating millions to the city for five years if the city agrees not to impose new taxes or tax increases.
The deal, yet to be signed, also calls for Chevron to give the city $400,000 to $600,000 worth of help to increase efficiency at City Hall.
City and Chevron officials began discussing the issue last month, after the city learned that Chevron would ask the county assessor for a re-assessment of its properties. City officials estimate that Richmond could lose about $4 million a year if the re-assessment is granted.
Chevron is applying for a re-assessment because the value of its Richmond properties has dropped in recent years. Because property tax bills are based on property values, the company stands to save a lot of money from re-assessment.
Richmond Mayor Rosemary Corbin led a small committee that talked with Chevron last week about what could be done to avoid losing the revenue. Corbin said Tuesday that Chevron has agreed in principle to donate to the city whatever amount the city would lose from property re-assessments. The agreement is for five years.
Without the agreement the city would lose the $4 million, or $20 million over five years, and be forced to find new revenue or cut expenses.
The City Council will consider the agreement at its meeting Tuesday, but a few wrinkles remain. Councilwoman Lesa McIntosh asked the city to include a clause describing how disputes that arise might be resolved.
Councilman Alex Evans asked that the city reserve its right to spend the assistance money how and where it wants.
Councilman Tom Butt, a frequent critic of Chevron, agreed to drop a proposal for removing a cap on Chevron's utility tax if the two sides reached agreement on the property issue.
Butt has complained that the city's utility tax gives Chevron an unfair break in rates. Because of their higher consumption, Chevron and other industrial users pay a lower rate.
Before Chevron applied for its re-assessment, Butt had introduced, then agreed to postpone, a decision on a measure that would put on the ballot an ordinance that would repeal a lower rate on Chevron's utility tax.
The assistance to the city could come in a combination of "personnel, equipment, funds and other resources," according to the draft agreement.