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Does City of El Segundo give Chevron special tax favors

untitledA county civil grand jury investigating how much revenue Chevron pays to El Segundo and whether the oil refinery has received favored tax status “was initially concerned with the possibility of conflicts of interest” between the company and the city, according to a newly released report.

But the jury — which opened its investigation because of newspaper articles about Chevron’s tax revenues and the city’s fiscal health — “could substantiate no evidence of any conflict,” the report states.  However, it does offer some recommendations for local leaders, including forming a citizens committee focused on long-term financial planning, and conducting and making public annual audits of Chevron’s utility usage.

City Manager Greg Carpenter rejected the idea of making future audits public.

“It’s definitely (the) council’s decision whether they want to form another citizens commission, board or committee,” Carpenter said, adding: “I think we’re generally pleased with the outcome (of the civil grand jury’s review). We probably would have preferred that they not react to the news reports the way they did.”

But the amount of taxes Chevron pays to El Segundo has been heavily debated since the town’s former manager, Doug Willmore, told the City Council in December 2011 that he found inequities in the taxes paid by Chevron compared with other local businesses. After also analyzing revenues from refineries in nearby cities, the staff suggested a ninefold hike in Chevron’s acreage tax.

The civil grand jury factored the new tax agreement into its review, as well as a 1994 pact between Chevron and El Segundo that settled a dispute over how the city’s tax ordinance should apply to the refinery’s natural gas usage. It set the annual rate at $150,000, subject to adjustments for inflation. Willmore argued the deal was illegal and cost the city millions of dollars.

The jurors wrote that, although the nearly 20-year-old agreement provided for annual audits of Chevron’s gas use, none had been done in the years between 1994 and the recent audit.

In short, instead of making Chevron increase their fare share of taxes, the jury opts to suggest creating a committee?  Looks like this is why Doug WIllmore is no longer the city manager.  Whenver irregularities are found and brought to the publics attention, city managers are let go.  Why are communities scared to stand up to energy companies that are polluting the city?

Read the full article here

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About Melissa

I am a lifelong Inglewood resident living in District 4. I serve on PTA and School Site Council as Vice-President, for the last 8 years with Inglewood Unified School District. I volunteer on the Wellness Committee for ICEF Public Schools. I am an alumni of California State University, Dominguez Hills with a degree in Political Science. You can find me on Twitter under @CreoleMommie

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