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By Tammye McDuff
The Temporary Utility User’s Tax Oversight Board [TUUTOB] held their second update and report Tuesday, July 19, 2016.
The City of Bellflower amended its Utility Users’ Tax ordinance, which received voter approval on November 6, 2012. The ordinance amendment increases the tax percentage for electricity, gas, and telecommunications from five (5%) to seven (7%). The seven (7%) percentage tax takes effect on April 1, 2013, and shall be reduced back to five (5%) on April 1, 2018.
The purpose of the TUUTOB is to assist the City in restoring and / or maintaining services which include neighborhood Sheriff’s patrols; local Sheriff’s substation; gang prevention/enforcement; graffiti removal; school safety/after-school programs; pothole repairs; and other services through the Economic Development Department [EDD].
The EDD is working to bring new life and tourist dollars into the City by reaching out to retailers and developers. Staff is working to bring a new four-star hotel to be located on Artesia Boulevard, new coffee houses, the relocation of Riccis Italian Deli and ongoing construction of the L.A. County Fire Museum.
The Economic Development Department plans, coordinates, promotes and manages the City’s programs to support economic expansion. Efforts include public and private development projects, business outreach, recruitment and retention; and marketing programs. The Department focuses on coordinating and implementing comprehensive development projects that will hopefully have a positive impact on the City and ultimately increase property values, community beautification and improved quality of life for residents. Housing, Grants, and Public Affairs are also workings of the department. In addition, the Department provides staff assistance to the Temporary Utility Users Tax Oversight Board.
The TUUTOB currently has $1,562,829 available under Measure P. These funds, as explained by the EDD help to fund Bellflower Summer events such as Food Trucks & Flicks; Summer Streetfests and the annual Bellflower Car Show. The funds also support Bellflower Recreation in Motion [BRIM] program, which brings games and activities to the underserved neighborhoods within the City. The program has actually seen an increase in children’s participation and served over 5,000 children last year.
The Utility Users Tax sustains Bellflowers Public Safety programs by adding two full time positions for Patrol Deputy’s, one part time probation officer, a new park surveillance camera system, a mobile automatic license plate recognition system, radar trailer and aids with Deputy overtime for additional crime control. National Night Out also receives funding from the Users Tax, which will be held August 2nd at Thompson Park beginning at 6:00 pm.
A Restaurant Assistance Program [RAP] supports establishments that need to apply for a Conditional Use Permit for the acquisition of Alcoholic Beverage Control licensing. The brand new Kalaveras eatery was approved for the program and will open their doors in August. The second element of the RAP is to help restaurants apply and receive grant funding for interior upgrades, plumbing, electrical or façade renovations. The ever popular Marino’s Italian Restaurant is currently working on their application.
In an effort to bring in affordable housing, the City, Partnership Housing Inc. and Habitat for Humanity are constructing six affordable housing units on Ramona Street. All six have been sold with one home being reserved for Veterans.
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