Sunday, September 21, 2014

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

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 or 530-747-8057. Follow him at Twitter at @davewritesnews





Elementary school counselors: necessary, but poorly funded

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

Bet Haverim hosts High Holy Day services

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

Teams assess damage as wildfire burns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Driver arrested for DUI after Saturday morning crash

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Help raise funds for juvenile diabetes cure

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Jewelry, art for sale at Senior Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Davis Community Meals needs cooks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Send kids to camp!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Da Vinci awarded $38,000 for restorative justice program

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

Hawk Hill trip planned Sept. 30

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

UC campus chancellors granted hefty pay raises

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Outdoor yoga marathon celebrates community

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Wise words

By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A12



Awareness is key to this fight

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

We’re living in the Golden State of emergency

By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A6

Options for protection come with flu season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Are we there yet? Not enough hours in the day to goof off

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

Paso Fino — it’s not worth it

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Archer will get my vote

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

It’s time for Davis Scouts to stand up for what is right

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Mike Keefe cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

Building something at schools’ HQ

By Our View | From Page: A10

Don’t sell city greenbelt

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Paso Fino project is flawed

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Maybe David can beat Goliath again

By Lynne Nittler | From Page: A11 | Gallery



DHS gets on its Morse to beat Edison

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

JV Blue Devils drop low-scoring affair

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B2

Wire briefs: Giants rally falls short in San Diego

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Four local swimmers qualify for Olympic Trials

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Republic FC’s fairy tale season continues

By Evan Ream | From Page: B3 | Gallery

‘We’re a way better team’ than record, says UCD’s Shaffer

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

UCD roundup: Aggie men pound Pomona-Pitzer in the pool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4

Davis 15-year-old making a splash in European F4 series

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery





‘Ladies Foursome’ adds shows

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3



UCD grad’s startup earns kudos at TechCrunch event

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Styles on target for November debut

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7

MBI hires VP of marketing

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Taylor Morrison unveils new Woodland community next weekend

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Rob White: What is an ‘innovation center’?

By Rob White | From Page: A9



Carol L. Walsh

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4



Comics: Sunday, September 21, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8