68700 Avenida Lalo Guerrero, Cathedral City, CA 92234

Utility Users Tax

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A Message from Tami Scott, Administrative Services Director…..

Since 2000, Cathedral City’s population has grown by 20% — to more than 53,000 residents.  As a result, demand for services has increased dramatically, e.g., a 33% increase in the number of 9-1-1 emergency calls. With the effects of the economic recession that started in the 2006-2007 time-frame, it was necessary to secure a means of stable funding to supplement our City to meet the demands of a rapidly growing population. In November 2008, the citizens of Cathedral City voted to tax themselves in the way of a three percent (3%) Utility Users Tax (UUT), which is included on utility bills for gas, electricity, telecommunications, cable (video), and solid waste removal. As a result, the UUT has brought in more than $2.7 million/year in necessary local revenue to protect/preserve essential Cathedral City services including: police officers, firefighters, paramedics; 911 response times; crime, gang and drug prevention programs; fixing potholes and streets; improving graffiti removal, street sweeping, code enforcement, street medians and open space; funding youth and senior services; and preserving other general City services.  All funds raised by this tax are legally required to be spent in our City — ensuring local control of this revenue. The UUT provides a guaranteed source of funding for vital City services and cannot be taken away by the State of California.

There is a tax exemption for Cathedral City residents for low-income seniors who are 65 years old or over and who are on the California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) Program. For those seniors meeting these criteria, here’s how it works:

  1. If you are not on the CARE program and are 65 or over and your level of income would qualify you for the CARE program:
    1. Contact Southern California Edison for an application. The City of Cathedral City is not involved in the CARE program eligibility process.
    2. You can find information on the CARE program online at https://www.sce.com/wps/portal/home/residential/assistance/care-fera/capitation or by calling 866-675-6623.
    3. You can find CARE information online for income limits for household size at http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/General.aspx?id=976
    4. When you receive an electric bill showing that you are participating in the CARE program, follow the instructions below.
  2. If you are 65 or over and are already on the CARE program:
    1. Log on to the city’s website at cathedralcity.gov (Note – If you do not have access to a computer, you may obtain an application at the reception desk at City Hall, or call (760) 770-0359 and request an application be mailed to your home.)
    2. Click the “Utility Users Tax” button on the left side of the home page.
    3. Then click UUT Exemption to download a copy of the exemption form.
    4. Complete the application and attach
      1. proof of age, e.g., driver’s license, and
      2. a copy of your current electric bill showing:
        1. the page that shows your name and account number, and
        2. the other page that indicates you are currently enrolled in the CARE program.
    5. Send your application and a copy of all utility bills that are covered by the UUT [i.e., electric, gas, cable, telephone (including cell phone, and/or trash to:

City of Cathedral City
Attn: Finance Department – UUT
68700 Avenida Lalo Guerrero
Cathedral City, CA 92234

Be sure the copies you submit include the pages that list your name and account number.

Please be aware that the City cannot notify utility providers that you are exempt if you are not paying them directly for your utility service.  This is the case for those utilities that you pay to either a Mobile Home Park (MHP), or to a Home Owners Association (HOA). However, if you are qualified for an exemption, you will be able to apply for an annual refund from the City for all UUT you may have paid during the previous calendar year.  Refund applications will be accepted at City Hall during the period of January 1 through March 31 for the preceding calendar year only.  Refund applications must be submitted with proof of all UUT paid by you to the MHP or HOA, which would be detailed on your monthly statements or an annual statement if provided by them.