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Smart Voter
Riverside County, CA November 4, 2014 Election
Measure J
General Tax on Mining, Extraction and Processing
City of Banning

Majority Approval Required

Pass: 3,445 / 53.06% Yes votes ...... 3,048 / 46.94% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of November 21 7:51am, 100.00%% of Precincts Reporting (8/8)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall an ordinance be adopted establishing a general mining tax of 80 cents per ton upon the excavation and processing of rock material, and placing the proceeds of these taxes in the City's general fund to be spent for general governmental purposes, which includes police, fire, and maintaining streets and public areas, a well as to pay for studying, correcting and reducing the effects of mining on residents and businesses?

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney
This Measure was placed on the ballot by the Banning City Council and asks whether the voters of the City of Banning desire to approve an ordinance establishing a general tax upon rock, sand and gravel mining operations in the City. The proposed tax would apply to the excavation and processing of rock, sand and gravel materials at a rate not-to-exceed eighty cents per ton. The Banning City Council could, in its discretion, set the tax at a lower per-ton rate. The proposed mining tax includes a provision for annual automatic cost of living changes.

As a general tax, proceeds from the proposed tax would be deposited into the City's general fund to be spent for general governmental purposes, such as police, fire, and maintaining streets and public areas. However, the Measure also gives the Banning City Council the option, without any obligation, of creating a "Mining Impact Fund". This fund, if established, would be a separate account into which General Fund proceeds may be deposited to pay for the monitoring, mitigation and remediation of mining impacts upon the environment. Under the ordinance, the following are examples of proper expenditures for remediating mining impacts:

  • Remediation of deteriorated streets and other public infrastructure facilities;
  • Remediation of toxic or contaminated property resulting from mining and processing activities;
  • Abatement of public health and safety hazards, including health and safety hazards caused by access routes, traffic volumes, and usage conflicts;
  • Remediation of slope instability and slope erosion problems, including potentially unsafe damage to levees, flood infrastructure and protective berms along the San Gorgonio River;
  • Remediation of problems with sand and particulate matter and sand, gravel and particulate matter on public rights-of- way and properties;
  • Providing loans or grants to owners of property impacted by mining operations for purposes of constructing improvements to alleviate mining impacts; and
  • Abatement of air quality, noise, water quality and other health and safety impacts;

The proposed ordinance also specifically reserves to the City the right to enter into a development agreement that may waive or relinquish some of the established mining tax requirements in exchange for land- use or environmental concessions from a mine operator.

Under Proposition 218, a statewide initiative adopted in November of 1996, the mining tax could only be increased beyond the 80 cents per ton by a vote of the people, but the ordinance gives the Council the ability to make changes to the ordinance other than increasing the rate.

Under Proposition 218, any general tax must be approved by a majority of the voters. Your "Yes" vote means that you want the City to enact the proposed mining tax. Your "No" vote means that you do not want the City to enact the proposed mining tax.

By: City Attorney

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Arguments For Measure J Arguments Against Measure J
Measure "J" will not tax any residents or businesses, except Banning mines extracting rock, sand and/or gravel. Measure "J" would require mining operations to pay $.80 for every ton of material extracted, with the monies going to pay for general City services.

Banning City revenues have dropped by approximately 33% as a result of the recent recession, requiring a similar reduction in police and other City personnel. Measure "J" is proposed to help the City fund basic public services like fire, police, recreation, planning, code enforcement, street repair and other services that benefit the City's residents.

While the vast majority of Banning businesses pay sales tax to fund these City services, mining operations currently pay none -- even though the mines occupy over 180 acres in the City, and cause significant environmental effects. Several years ago Banning's largest mine operator made an arrangement to have the sales taxes from its mining operations paid to Corona. This left other cities, like Banning, to bear the environmental impacts of the mine operation without getting any sales tax income. To correct this, the Measure "J" mining tax is proposed. Such mining taxes have been adopted in various California cities.

Besides limited revenues for basic public services, the City lacks the funds needed to monitor City mines as required by law and to mitigate mine-related environmental impacts. Banning residents have reported deterioration of streets and traffic conditions, increased dust and noise, erosion problems, visual blight and water quality problems from mining operations in Banning. Measure J gives the Banning City Council the option of creating a special fund to collect the taxes from Measure "J" in order to remediate current and future negative environmental impacts caused by mining operations to the residents of Banning.

By: Don Peterson
Jerry Westholder
Edward Miller
Arthur L. Welch
Deborah Franklin

(No arguments against were submitted)

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