BELL — The tiny Southern California city of Bell may have to return $3 million in illegal property taxes.
State Controller John Chiang said Friday that an audit found that for at least three years, the Los Angeles suburb has been charging higher-than-allowed property taxes for its pension obligations.
Chiang has ordered the tax rate to be reduced as quickly as possible and says it might save $250 a year on a bill for a $275,000 home.
Bell interim city manager Pedro Carillo says he’s working to put a resolution lowering the tax rate before the City Council on Monday. Carillo says it’s not clear yet whether the money will be returned to property owners. It could go to the state.
The audit follows an outcry over huge salaries paid to Bell officials.