On Tuesday, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Harold Hopp heard final arguments in the Measure C trial.
The lawsuit was filed in September against the city by Riversiders Against Increased Taxes (RAIT). The organization claims that the placement of Measure C on the Nov. 2 ballot was unlawful because it’s a tax being voted on during a special election. The measure passed with 54% yes votes and an 18% voter turnout, but the judge halted certification of the measure.
Certification of the results would allow Riverside to continue transferring $40 million a year from the city’s electric utility fund to the city’s general fund. According to a document by the city attorney, the transfer was initially approved by Riverside voters in 1968 and again in 1977.
A 2018 lawsuit, Parada v. City of Riverside, filed against the city alleged the transfer was a “general tax,” which would require voter approval under California Proposition 26 passed in 2010. In 2020, the court ruled that Riverside voters must expressly approve the fund transfer. In 2021, the city settled the lawsuit and agreed to place the measure on the November 2021 ballot.
During an earlier hearing on Jan. 7, Judge Hopp indicated that he was leaning toward siding with RAIT on the case. Judge Hopp did not make a final decision during the Jan. 24 hearing but is expected to make a final ruling by Feb. 23.