The Bell City Council on Monday will consider rolling back its property tax rate after state Controller John Chiang announced the city had overcharged residents by nearly $3 million since 2007.

In a letter sent Friday (PDF) Chiang asked the Los Angeles County Auditor-Controller to “review this matter and take immediate actions to ensure that the taxpayers of the City of Bell are not further burdened with what appears to be an improper property assessment.”

Apparently Bell's interim city manager, Pedro Carrillo, is already on the case, putting the rate-rollback before the council Monday. Carrillo also wants to refund at least some of the $3 million in overpayment to residents, even though state law mandates that any paybacks go to schools.

Chiang called for an immediate end to the illegal tax rate. Such taxes were capped at a rate used in 1983 and 1984, according to his office.

“While my investigation into the City of Bell continues, these unlawful taxes must stop immediately,” Chiang stated. “Homeowners and property owners should not pay the price for this poor fiscal management.”

The tax revelation comes in the wake of the city's salary scandal, in which three officials were found to be making extraordinary salaries. Former city manager Robert Rizzo was pulling down as much as $1.5 million a year. The three resigned.

LA Weekly