Joe Cvetko, a former Bellflower city councilman, will team with John Butts, a roofer and the former host of a cable-access show called “Bellflower B.S,” to write the ballot arguments against a proposed five-year, two-percent utility tax hike. Both are long-time and high-volume critics of the current council.

The measure was placed on the Nov. 2 ballot last month by a 5-0 vote of the Bellflower council, which declared a fiscal emergency in the face of a projected $1.4 million deficit for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

If approved by voters, the two-percent hike to the existing five-percent utility tax would bring an additional $1.6 million a year for the five years, allow the city to balance the 2010-11 budget and give the city cash flow for operating expenses, city Finance Director Tae Rhee said.

Mayor Ray Dunton and Councilman Dan Koops have volunteered to write the argument in favor of the tax increase.

Opponents have called for the cash-strapped city to save money by contracting out jobs to the private sector. Public Information Officer Lynn Komadina said Bellflower already contracts out work, including police services from the Sheriff’s Department, and that private companies handle transportation services, trash collection and street sweeping services. There is even a City Hall cleanup crew hired for janitorial work there, she noted.

READ MORE BY ARNOLD ADLER IN THE HERALD AMERICAN