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Objection is over violation of charter

August 21, 2012

The Aug. 16 News-Press story titled “Council calls for charter update” states that if the public voted to modernize the electric fee transfer's accounting rules that I would support the change. I write to forestall any inference that my disagreement with the city is merely over how it accounts for the transfer. Mine is a substantive objection.

I've repeatedly made the case that the city's approval, at the beginning of the fiscal year, of a $21million transfer of electric receipts to the General Fund to support general services violates the charter, because the charter: (1) only allows the excess, “if any,” of electric receipts left at the end of the fiscal year after all electric works needs have been covered to go to a Glendale Water & Power Surplus Fund, (2) provides that only monies in that fund can be transferred for other than GWP purposes (the maximum amount in that fund that can be transferred is measured by 25% of GWP's operating revenues), (3) proscribes that the transferred receipts must go from that Surplus Fund to a General Reserve Fund to temporarily provide cash to other city funds pending tax collections and (4) excludes GWP receipts from being credited to the General Fund supporting general services.

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If the people vote to remove these charter obstacles, of course, I'd have no legal objection to the transfer. Under the law the city can increase taxes for the General Fund by a vote of the electorate; and the people can change the charter to send electric receipts to the General Fund. In our form of government the people's vote prevails.

Harry Zavos
Glendale

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