Thursday, March 5, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Sales tax proposal goes to ballot, but cuts may come, too

By
From page A1 | February 12, 2014 |

Do Davis residents want to tax their purchases further to help the city balance its budget?

That’s the question that will be posed June 3.

A unified Davis City Council on Tuesday sent a half-cent sales tax increase proposal to voters with the added caveat that the vote also would mean the existing half-cent sales tax add-on would sunset in 2020.

The proposed increase would bump Davis’ 8 percent sales tax to 8.5 percent, commensurate with rates in other cities in the region.

Regardless, in March the council will have to decide between two tough levels of budget cuts to steer the city’s spending plan into the black.

The council could not agree now on a previously publicized $150-per-year parcel tax proposal for infrastructure and parks amenities, instead deciding to take the matter up later as “to be determined.”

Council members opened the discussion Tuesday night about a sales tax increase to fill a projected $5.1 million structural deficit in its general fund by agreeing that they needed to present a unanimous decision to the people.

That made for a painstaking and difficult dance of ideas and solutions between one side of the dais and the other, with Mayor Joe Krovoza often playing referee in the middle when he felt a motion was ripe for voting or vetting.

City Manager Steve Pinkerton added gravitas to the discussion, laying out the damage behind two levels of city budget cuts that, whatever voters decide in June, will have to be taken up by the council in March.

In one scenario, all city departments would take a 12 percent cut, reducing an already trimmed workforce and limiting the city’s ability to do what it does now — plus significant cuts to police and fire services.

In another scenario, public safety sectors would be spared, meaning a 25 percent cut to the remainder of city services.

Councilman Lucas Frerichs set forth the one and only motion of the night, a half-cent increase in the sales tax, with the current half-cent add-on to be extended until 2020, plus leaving the possibility and details of a parcel tax to be determined at a later date.

The original staff recommendation was for a three-quarter-cent raise in the sales tax to bring in $5.4 million in annual revenue. A half-cent tax would generate $3.61 million per year.

With the motion on the floor and a second from Rochelle Swanson, the teeth-gnashing began.

Councilman Dan Wolk wanted both the sales and parcel taxes together at the polls. Swanson worried that, packaged together, they would both fail. Councilman Brett Lee said he wouldn’t support partial measures, especially anything that would “require them to lay off 10 to 15 employees.”

From that point, it seemed the council was leaning toward a three-quarter-cent sales tax again. Then Krovoza weighed in.

“What’s our assurance to the public that 8.75 (percent sales tax) for six years and no advisory (statement) is not a blank check?” he said.

The council debated the merits of a non-legally binding advisory statement, which would tell the voters how the city intended to spend the money. However, council members backed off when City Attorney Harriet Steiner told them that such statements can get the city in legal and political hot water unless they are worded generally, too generally for what the council was looking for.

In the end, Frerichs’ original motion was approved and the ballot part of the budget issue moves onward.

Pinkerton said he will hit the road with a sales tax and budget presentation to Davis area service clubs, parent-teacher associations and neighborhood associations soon.

— Reach Dave Ryan at [email protected] or 530-747-8057. Follow him at Twitter at @davewritesnews

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

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

  • .

    News

     
    ‘The Liar’ will have audiences in stitches

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Hibbert Lumber honored as an Owl Wise Leader

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    World Language Fair brings nations to Davis

    By Krystal Lau | From Page: A3

     
    Get crackin’ for Yolo Crisis Nursery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Taizé service set Friday at DCC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Climate Lobby will meet March 11

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Be featured in Woodland’s water-wise landscape tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    UFC speaker series gives ‘A Winemaker’s Journey’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Speaker will illuminate universe’s dark side

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Fiesta dinner, auction benefit Chávez School

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Divorce options covered in Saturday workshop

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Community forum with police will address hate in Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    .

    Forum

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    DHS boys track team has high aspirations

    By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Blue Devil boys mash Marauders

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils’ big inning is the difference in baseball opener

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS golfers dominate Elk Grove

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Davis softball offense explodes for first win

    By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: DHS swimmers speed past Herd

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    Youth soccer: Barker lights it up for Blue Thunder

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Youth roundup: U15 Knights rout El Dorado Hills

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Hear EZ Street Saturday at winery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    UC Davis bands perform on March 11

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

     
    Wealth of Nations plays Saturday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ to be screened Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
     
    Resler releases memoir, ‘The Last Protégée’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Athens Guitar Duo to perform at Davis Arts Center

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, March 5, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B6