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GLORIA MOLINA URGES BELL PROPERTY TAX OVERPAYMENTS BE RETURNED DIRECTLY TO RESIDENTS
State’s Current ‘Pension Override’ Rule ‘Adds Insult to Injury’
LOS ANGELES (August 17, 2010)—Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Gloria Molina and her colleagues took emergency action today by urging the State Legislature to pass special legislation that would allow property tax overpayments by Bell homeowners—which were improperly enacted in order to pay for the city’s pension obligations—to be returned directly to those homeowners instead of Bell-area schools, as currently mandated by state law.
“Bell property owners are already outraged that their city has been so unbelievably mismanaged,” Molina said. “This ‘pension override’ rule just adds insult to injury. It’s a windfall for the State of California at the expense of Bell residents, who are already coming to terms with the many other costs they’ll have to bear for years to come as a result of past mismanagement of their city.”
Bell residents recently learned that they have been overtaxed by approximately $2.8 million for the past three years. And though the City of Bell voted last night to amend their tax rate, according to the State of California’s Revenue and Tax Code §96.31 (d), “pension override” tax recoveries must go to Bell-area schools—not to homeowners.
This latest “pension override” discovery was unearthed after weeks of similarly disturbing findings concerning the City of Bell. Among them: A city manager receiving $1.5 million in total compensation; A former police chief collecting $457,000 annually; an assistant city manager making $376,000 per year; seven additional Bell city employees receiving between $230,000 and $423,000 in yearly pay; part-time city councilmembers making $100,000 annually; and massive pension payments that will be required in the future as a result of these excessively large salaries.