By John Hrabe | Cal Watchdog
A group of Fresno taxpayers hoping to overturn the city’s recent water rate hike has filed a formal complaint accusing the city attorney of issuing a biased and misleading title and summary for their referendum.
It’s the latest development in a bitter fight between the city and taxpayers. Last August, the city approved a controversial plan by Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin to double water rates in order to fund a $410 million upgrade to the city’s water system. But when a group of taxpayers led by former Fresno County Supervisor Doug Vagim objected to the plan, the city took the taxpayers to court in order to stop a referendum campaign.
Earlier this month, a state appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that ordered the city to fulfill its ministerial duties and issue a petition title and summary. Now the taxpayers say that the title and summary, as prepared by City Attorney Doug Sloan, are biased in favor of the water tax hike.