New property TAX BASE for P66?

Dollars funnel.

Dear Editor:

The following Public Comment was presented to the Contra
Costa County Board of Supervisors yesterday:

Begging works. Especially if you’re an oil refinery in Contra Costa County. Responding to cries of financial hardship, the County recently created a new tax base for Phillips 66. But no one noticed until a firehouse in Rodeo closed, and its Fire Chief let out a rebel yell.

Accustomed to getting 10% of the County tax for the Rodeo-Hercules Fire District, Chief Charles Hanley suddenly came up short. “By about a million dollars,” he said, remembering  the day he had to shutter the little firehouse and say goodbye to 9 firefighters. All agreed the closure was dangerous and ironic. Besides thousands of people, the firehouse also served the refinery. (A FEMA Grant enabled the firehouse to re-open last
year, but only temporarily.)

Enough’s enough. You get the idea. So this week, I met with the Tax Assessor to request more money for both the County and
Fire District. With startling honesty, Gus Kramer explained that P66’s taxes were now based on “profits, not property.” Since the refinery owns 37% of the land in Rodeo, this went far to reduce their tax burden. How far? Kramer couldn’t say off-hand, however, public records show that, in 2014, they paid $3,900 per acre for their main lot. And now they’re paying only $42 per acre. Given this steep drop, the County Board of Supervisors is now feeling the burn.

Yesterday, BOS Chairman John Gioia, confirmed the new profit-sharing”  relationship with P66, and referred me back to Kramer “for discussion”. This begs the question: How can the BOS objectively vote on any matter concerning P66 — like the controversial Propane Project which is believed to involve notorious tar sands — if the County has become a “business partner”? Although Phillips ranks #6 on the Fortune 500, the County is now obliged to help them make money. This might explain why Supervisor Glover “lost” his long-time assistant, Paul Adler, who went to work for the refinery this month, in “government affairs”.

Is this tax base legal? Is a for-profit relationship between corporation and County common? Who’s idea was it? Did it require a vote?  Whose vote? Does a profit-sharing relationship create conflict-of-interest issues for the BOS? Should the entire Board be required to recuse itself from voting on matters concerning its business partners? Are other refineries in the County also in a profit relationship? Besides firehouses and jobs, what’re taxpayers losing because of these tax reductions? A hospital perhaps?

Teagan Clive
Rodeo, CA

video of statement and response

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9 Responses to New property TAX BASE for P66?

  1. bud burlison says:

    I’d be interested to know the process that made this agreement possible. The community needs to rise up to demand an answer. I’m not the least surprised with the lateral movement of Federal Glover’s assistant, Paul Adler, into the welcoming arms of P66. It’s his specialty. He’s a flack.

  2. Can the county sometimes come out ahead if profits are very good for P66 or will P66 skillfully hide as much profit from the county as possible? Regarding the possibility of a terroist attack on explosive propane tanks, I do see that as a possibility that needs to be considered with an emergency plan in place if it did happen. Do not put anything past them.

  3. Virginia says:

    How is this even legal? Makes absolutely no sense without the lens of corruption.

  4. gofindnancy says:

    Setting aside the important issue of the lack of transparency re:how the County made this tax deal, one has to wonder how a subsidiary of one of America’s largest oil extraction companies can cry poor? Further, the Rodeo refinery is only one half of the “San Franciso Refinery” and is connected by pipeline to the front half, located in San Louis Obispo County,

    I wonder if P66 tried to pull this off in San Louis Obispo County as well. If it did, did its request fly?

  5. Fred Clerici says:

    I must admit I knew nothing about this arrangement. The whole thing does not appear to meet the “smell test”. I’m never sure what the county’s motives are in issues like this, but P66 is only about one thing, more profit. Aren’t situations like this the reason that we have a grand jury?

  6. freegrit says:

    Talk about holding our communities hostage! So, this arrangement means that Contra Costa County would basically be encouraging Phillips 66 to thrive in order to collect more in taxes – for us. Do I have that right? In the original arrangement, they were charged by the acre. That price could have been negotiated up or down, but the county was in charge. This is the worst backroom negotiation I have heard of in a long time. I do not support these politicians who were supposed to represent the people of our communities. They have forgotten their roles.

  7. Fred Clerici says:

    This is the same thing that happened with the Good Neighbor Agreement and its associated funding agreements. Under the old rule the refinery was obligated to disburse a set amount of money every year to local entities. When that agreement was scrapped all of that guaranteed funding disappeared. P66 still does what they call “charitable giving” except for now they are totally in control of who gets the “giving” and what the amounts will be. I have tried to get numbers on how much is actually being “given” now as opposed to the amounts the communities received under the GNA and its various agreements, have never gotten a number.

  8. Teagan Clive says:

    PLEASE NOTE: P66 owns several parcels in Rodeo. For the sake of accuracy, County Tax Bill records show that they’re now paying $47,494 for their main parcel. Last year, they paid $4,419,418. That’s a difference of a lot of dough; a magnificent loss of over $4,370,000 to the County and to us. WHEN was their tax base actually revised? WHY? Many of the services provided to unincorporated towns depend on the County money, therefore, I’m encouraging our elected officials to get more — NOT LESS — from this global corporation. Especially since, according to Business Week, P66 “doubled its profits in 2011”, and ranks #6 on the Fortune 500 and #19 on the Global Fortune 500. For a company that’s always begging for charity, they sure don’t know how to give it. I’m hoping this will improve now that Paul Adler has joined their staff.

  9. Teagan Clive says:

    In other words, P66 is paying 1% of what they paid last year in property tax.
    One per cent. This justifies some curiosity.

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