Guidelines for the Submission and Tabulation of Protests
When notice of a public hearing with respect to a utility or other rate increase has been given by the City pursuant to Article XIIID, Section 6 of the California Constitution, the following shall apply:
Submission of Protests
1. Any property owner or utility customer may submit a written protest to the City Clerk, either by mail or delivery to the City Clerk’s Office, 1201 Civic Center Blvd, Yuba City CA 95993 or by submitting the protest at the public hearing. Protests must be received by the end of the public hearing. No postmarks will be accepted.
2. Each protest must state that it is a protest (or indicate opposition to the proposed rates). If the City has given notices for public hearings regarding rates for both sewer and water service, and those hearing are to be held on the same date, then the protest may indicate whether it is made (i) with respect only to water rates, (ii) with respect only to sewer rates, or (iii) with respect to both water and sewer rates. If no limitation is indicated, the City will interpret the protest as covering all rates to be considered on the hearing date. Email or facsimile protests cannot be accepted. Although oral comments at the public hearing will not qualify as a formal protest unless accompanied by a written protest, the City Council welcomes input from the community during the public hearing on the proposed fees.
3. A protest by a property owner that is a trust must be signed by the Trustee and identified as such with the signature (i.e., John Smith, Trustee for Smith Family Trust). Protests by property owners that are corporations, partnerships, or similar entities must be signed by a person authorized to execute documents on behalf of the property owner.
4. If a parcel served by the City is owned by more than one record owner or more than one name appears on the City’s records as the customer for the property, or the customer is not the record owner, each owner or customer may submit a protest, but only one protest will be counted per parcel and any one protest submitted in accordance with these rules will be sufficient to count as a protest for that property.
5. In order to be valid, a protest must bear date, designation of parcel address or parcel number, printed name, and original signature of the record owner or customer of record with respect to the property identified on the protest. The customer of record is the name of the person whose name is printed on the Utility Bills for the parcel. Except as set forth in paragraph 3 above protests not bearing the original signature of a record owner or customer of record shall not be counted. Protests which have been altered by someone other than the person who signed them shall not be counted.
6. Any person who submits a protest may withdraw it by submitting to the City Clerk a dated written request that the protest be withdrawn. The withdrawal of a protest shall contain sufficient information to identify the affected parcel and the name of the record owner or record customer who submitted both the protest and the request that it be withdrawn.
7. A fee protest proceeding is not an election.
8. To ensure transparency and accountability in the fee protest tabulation, protests shall constitute disclosable public records from and after the close of the public hearing. Records shall be maintained for three years and then may be destroyed.
Tabulation of Protests
1. The City Clerk, or designee, shall determine the validity of all protests. The City Clerk shall not accept as valid any protest if s/he determines that any of the following conditions exist:
a. The protest does not identify a property that will be subject to the proposed fees.
b. The protest does not bear an original signature of a record owner or identified as trustee of the parcel identified on the protest or of a record customer of that parcel.
c. The protest does not state its opposition to the proposed fees or is illegible.
d. The protest has been altered in any way by someone other than the person who signed it.
e. The protest was not received by the City Clerk before the close of the public hearing on the proposed fees.
f. A request to withdraw the protest was received by the City Clerk prior to the close of the public hearing on the proposed fees.
g. The protest or request for withdrawal is dated prior to the date of mailing of the notices of hearing on the proposed fees.
2. The City Clerk’s decision that a protest is not valid shall constitute a final action of the City and shall not be subject to any internal appeal.
3. A majority protest exists if written protests are timely submitted and not withdrawn by the record owners, trustee, or customers with respect to, a majority (50.0% plus one) of the properties subject to the proposed fee. If both water and sewer rates are being considered, a separate determination will be made for with respect to each of these two types of rates.
4. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the City Clerk shall count all protests received, including those received during the public hearing, and shall report the results to the City Council upon completion. If review of the protests received demonstrates that the number received is manifestly less than one-half of the parcels served by the City with respect to the fee which is the subject of the protest, then the City Clerk may advise the Council of the absence of a majority protest without determining the validity of all protests.
5. If, at the conclusion of the public hearing, the Clerk determines that s/he will require additional time to count the protests, s/he shall so advise the Council, which may adjourn the meeting to allow the count to be completed on another day or days. If so, the Council shall declare the time and place of the count, which shall be conducted in a place where interested members of the public may observe the counting, and the Council shall declare the time at which its meeting shall be resumed to receive and act on the report of the Clerk.