Mayor & Council Thumb Noses at Voters - Refuse to Put Sewer Issue on Ballot Despite 1,500 Valid Signatures

“We Don’t Have To - So We Won’t Let You Vote” Attitude Prevails

The “Rogues Gallery” Opposed Public Vote on Sewer Fees & $30 Million Project

Mayor Jack Batchelor, Council members Steve Bird, Jerry Casteñon, and Dane Besenatte

Once again at the City Council meeting Tuesday, June 10, the people showed emphatically their opposition to the doubling of sewer rates and commitment to borrow $30 million - and the Mayor and City Council refused to heed the public.

After the City Council earlier this year ignored the more than 2,000 protests from property owners against the fee hike, the Dixon Chapter of the Solano County Taxpayers Association (DC-SCTA) carried out a Referenda Petition drive against two resolutions passed by the City Council.

One doubled the rates, the other authorized promising revenue from those rates to pay for a proposed loan from the State Revolving Fund.

Referenda require 10% of registered voters to sign a petition to put a local ordinance or resolution on hold until a vote by the public on the issue.

In Dixon’s case, that meant 915 valid signatures had to be gathered within 30 days after the council passed the matters.

According to the Solano County Registrar of Voters, the DC-SCTA exceeded that requirement - gathering over 1,500 valid signatures in just 27 days.

But the City Clerk and City Attorney informed the Council the petitions themselves were not valid.

In the case of the Fee Increase, the DC-SCTA had printed separate copies of “Exhibit A” - the six page table of rates but did not physically staple them to the petition signature forms.

Despite a dozen signature gatherers testifying at the council meeting that they did have the Exhibit clipped to the forms and provided them to those signing, that fact was not considered sufficient.

In the case of the dedication of revenue to pay the proposed loan, the City Attorney officially opined the Resolution “was an administrative act” and not a proper subject for a referendum.

The City Council COULD have voted to place both issues on the ballot, but used the cover of the Clerk and Attorney’s presentation to deny the public the right to vote on the issues.

Every member of the public - about a dozen citizens - who spoke at the meeting strongly demanded the issues be put on the ballot. After the meeting, the buzz among the citizens there was that they want to remove the Mayor and four council members.

That would require another petition drive to gather about 2,500 valid signatures in 90 days. Besneatte is up for re-election in November.