Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Council on taxes: We need more options, outreach

From page A1 | January 29, 2014 |

The Davis City Council bought time Tuesday night to wait until the last minute to place taxes on the June ballot that could shore up city finances temporarily.

What the members bought with that time are options to place a companion measure on the ballot that specifies — in a non-legally binding way — what the money will be used for, a chance to mull how to do outreach to the community and a shorter lifespan for the taxes. The council also wants to emphasize to voters the city’s determination to build a business park that could bring in the necessary tax income for the long term.

The council is considering placing a three-quarter-cent addition to the sales tax on the June ballot and a $150-per-year parcel tax on the November ballot. The estimated $5.4 million in annual sales taxes receipts will go toward covering a $5.1 million structural deficit brought on by wages and benefit costs as well as various other soaring costs like a $2 million debt service for infrastructure. The rest would be placed in a rainy-day fund. This tax will require a simple majority of voters to pass it.

The city says the parcel tax would bring in $4.1 million annually for roads, park capital improvements and benefits like pool funding and the purchase of Nugget Fields from the school district. It would require a two-thirds yes vote to pass.

Each council member had something to add to the options city staff will be bringing back on Feb. 11, the last chance the council would have to meet deadlines for the June 3 ballot.

Councilwoman Rochelle Swanson pushed for more aggressive language telling voters the city would pursue economic development, but not just in a technology park. A change in the downtown core may have to take place for more income-generating business to locate in Davis, she said.

“It’ going to take more than boutiques and restaurants,” Swanson said, adding that the language of the economic development pledge would be a crucial message to voters. “I do think that our community wants to get behind us, but I do think they need something more.”

Councilman Lucas Frerichs worried that other alternatives hadn’t been pursued, such as hotel occupancy taxes, and the absence of that pursuit could be a hole in the city’s argument for new taxes. Similarly, he worried that Measure J/R votes required for most land on which the technology park would be built could make the economic development pledge risky.

More so, he worried that increases in water and sewer rates taking effect now will make Davis residents tighten their pocketbooks when it comes to approving new taxes.

Some members of the public criticized the city’s policy of slow growth for killing the housing development industry in Davis and thus a source of income for the city.

Councilman Brett Lee fired back at that notion, saying city analyses had shown housing to be revenue-neutral, in other words, not a good source of income.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kemble Pope read the results of a survey of Chamber members on the tax issue that showed 60 percent of respondents said yes to a question about whether the city should keep cutting rather than levying more taxes.

“This I don’t think is going to fly with the community,” he said.

Lee launched a broadside at that sentiment, saying the survey was too vague in its wording and asked the wrong questions. It should have asked whether people want their roads paved and want to have access to parks and recreation programs, he said, adding that roads and pools have deteriorated over the past 20 years.

“Perhaps the medicine is that we do something that is unpopular at first glance,” Lee said. “(We need to ask) what is it about Davis that makes it Davis?”

Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk seemed to call out past councils, saying this council would not “kick the can down the road.”

The city could cut the $5.1 million, but he said he didn’t have a sense that was what the community wants to do, plus there are real long-term projects that need financing. Wolk even proposed adding to an existing parks parcel tax so it could go on the June ballot with the sales tax. That way, voters could decide in one fell swoop.

City Manager Steve Pinkerton said he would add that to the list of options for council consideration in February.

Mayor Joe Krovoza took the various comments and unified them for the city staff to understand, noting there was support on the council to move forward with tax measures, but it needs more options on the table for debate at the Feb. 11. meeting. That also would give the public more chance to weigh in, he noted. Krovoza also said he is interested in seeing the sales tax be on the books for less than 10 years.

At least four members of the council must agree to move the tax issue to the ballot.

— Reach Dave Ryan at 530-747-8057.  Follow him at Twitter at @davewritesnews









  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Family enterprise builds a home for music

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Mosquito districts sprays tonight

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Bob Dunning: Poll dancing, direct from Las Vegas

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Health premiums rose significantly in 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Biggest book sale to date opens Friday at Davis library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Share your love of nature with young wetlands visitors

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Tasting event benefits Yolo Land Trust

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

    Movies in the Park return this fall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Tee off for Davis’ continued prosperity

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

    Center for Families hosts Summer Carnival

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Vintage car show planned this fall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Davis native named a Schweitzer Fellow

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    DHS Class of ’94 set 20th reunion

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Tips, techniques will give you a green thumb

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Grief support focuses on journaling

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    How the Bockler wasp got its name

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Kiwanis golf tournament supports local agencies

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Drop off school supplies at Edward Jones offices

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Wine-tastings will benefit YCCC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    UC Davis alumnus hopes to bring amateur radio to Nepal

    By Rachel Uda | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Yolo County CASA seeks volunteer child advocates

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Recycle old paint cans for free

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8



    Not sure which direction to go

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Violence as entertainment

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Shocked at vampires story

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Paul Krugman: Corporate artful dodgers

    By Paul Krugman | From Page: A6

    Nicholas Kristof: The world’s coolest places

    By Nicholas Kristof | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Gravel mining affects us all

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6



    Fiona Buck pushes the limits in para-athletics

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    A’s rally to win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Morse homers but Giants lose 6th straight

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Nightmare on Ballpark Drive for River Cats

    By Will Bellamy | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Schaub settles in as Raiders starting QB

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2





    Brady earns top honors at State Fair

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Smither releases new CD Saturday at The Palms

    By Kate Laddish | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    RootStock kicks off ‘Día de Albariño’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Folk musicians will jam in the Arboretum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    YoloArts to host a state of change exhibit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    UCD professor Andy Jones named Davis’ new poet laureate

    By Rachel Uda | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Molten art on display at Davis Arts Center

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9





    Calvin D. Rourke

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4



    Comics: Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6