The tax now adds 8 percent to ratepayers' costs, bringing Rialto $11 million - more than 22 percent of the general fund. The election would be March 5, 2013, requiring a declaration of fiscal emergency because that's not a regularly scheduled election.
Voting in the regular June election - the same month the utility users tax is set to expire - wouldn't give city staffers enough time to lay off workers, which would be necessary if voters reject the tax, according to a report by George Harris, the city's director of administrative and community services.
The city is in a fiscal emergency because of declining revenues for each of the past six fiscal years and rising costs, combined with voters' Nov. 6 rejection of a proposed tax hike on petroleum companies in the city, Harris wrote.
Rialto has been deficit spending since 2008 and would exhaust its reserves in fiscal year 2013-14 if spending continued at the same level without the utility users tax. Added to a structural deficit, the loss of the tax would bring the General Fund shortfall to $21million, according to city documents.
The tax was first passed as a temporary measure in 2003. If they decide to extend it, council members must also decide how many years to add.