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SVC Reply to City Attorney 6-2-14

SVC Reply to City Attorney 6-2-14

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Published by wuftnews
Response from Seniors vs. Crime to the letter sent from city and GRU attorneys stating they believe the tax on electric customer charges to be valid.
Response from Seniors vs. Crime to the letter sent from city and GRU attorneys stating they believe the tax on electric customer charges to be valid.

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Published by: wuftnews on Jun 02, 2014
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06/05/2014

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 PREVENTING VICTIMIZATION AND PROVIDING A WAY FOR SENIORS TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE SAFETY OF ALL FLORIDIANS
Rev.01/11 Form SVC01 “The Seniors vs. Crime project does not offer or provide legal services or legal representation. Any response provided Is not legal advice, is not a definite statement of the law, and is not a complete analysis of this area of inquiry.”
SVC Case File AL00395 June 2, 2014 Nicolle Shalley Gainesville City Attorney 200 E. University Avenue, Suite 425 Gainesville, FL 32601
(352) 334-5011
Dear City Attorney Shalley: Thank you for your reply dated May 28, 2014. This office is able to discuss factual research rather than legal authority concerning any matter. To that end, we are more interested in the Public Service Tax collected by GRU for the City of Gainesville rather than what is occurring elsewhere in Florida. Your reply indicates the Gainesville municipal Public Service Tax is assessed by city ordinance against the purchase of electricity in apparent compliance with controlling Florida statute 166.231(1). This, too, is the statute relied upon and supplied to this office by our complainant. Your reply also confirms Gainesville’s application of its municipal Public Service Tax extends beyond the purchase of electricity. In addition, the Gainesville municipal Public Service Tax adds tax to a non-electric power item – GRU’s Electric Customer Charge. You point out (p.3, para.5), “Our research confirms that it is common practice throughout the State to apply the Public Service Tax to the customer charge…”). I would submit that action and reliance simply upon a common practice seems insufficient to add application of the Public Service Tax to items beyond the State’s legislative definition. Your reply quotes Florida statute 166.231(1)(a) and (b) that in pertinent part defines a person’s “purchase of electric power”; that being the consumption of “it” – and “it” being “power." The singular exemption of Public Service Tax against a “fuel adjustment charge” may simply be due to its extremely close relationship to consumption. Your reply (pages 2 and 3) commingle the terms “…purchase in the city of electricity…”, “base rate” and “utility service” regarding city ordinance and application of the Public Service Tax. This office is developing a more simplistic working tool for potential use by others to better understand this issue. I have attached a draft copy of this working tool
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scenario and I would appreciate your input as it relates to the topic in question. Our premise is that a common practice or a city ordinance cannot supersede a state law. Thank you for your kind attention to these matters. Sincerely, John Caravella SVC Office Manager
 Pam Bondi Attorney General
 Region Four  Alachua County Sheriff’s Office  PO Box 5489 Gainesville, FL 32627-5489  352- 367- 4023
 A Special Project of the Florida Attorney General
 
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SVC CASE FILE AL00395
HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO
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                                                                                                                                             
Public Tax rules –
(a) Your municipality levies a tax on the purchase of electricity. The tax shall be levied only upon purchases within the municipality. Purchase of electricity means the purchase of electric power by a person who will consume it within the municipality. (b) The tax imposed by paragraph (a) shall not be applied against any fuel adjustment charge, and such charge shall be separately stated on each bill. The term “fuel adjustment charge” means all increases in the cost of utility services to the ultimate consumer resulting from an increase in the cost of fuel to the utility. (c) The tax in paragraph (a) on water service may be applied outside municipal boundaries to property included in a development if agreed to in writing by the developer of such property and the municipality.
      
YOU YOUR NEIGHBOR

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