Council: 1 percent sales tax measure for public safety, roads approved

May 20, 2014
Santa Paula News

Santa Paula voters will be asked to approve a 1 percent sales tax after a majority of the City Council opted to put the special tax to benefit public safety and roads on the November 4 ballot.

At the May 19 council meeting Mayor Rick Cook cast the lone nay vote on the measure that would require the approval of two-thirds of voters to generate an estimated $1.6 million annually through the special tax.

Santa Paula’s sales tax is presently 7.5 percent; if the 1 percent increase passes the muster of the super majority of voters the city’s new 8.5 percent sales tax would be the highest in the county.

The measure would call for 50 percent of revenues—an estimated $820,000 annually—to be used by police to beef up services; the fire department and road needs would equally split the remaining revenue to garner an estimated $410,000 each to improve fire services and fix streets.

As a special measure the revenue would be dedicated to what the ballot initiative specifies but Cook questioned comments leading up to the vote made by Vice Mayor Jim Tovias and City Manager Jaime Fontes that noted added revenue through the tax could potentially free up normally expended General Fund allocations for public safety that could be re-channeled to other city departments.

The exact ballot language will be presented to the council at the June 2 meeting.

A more complete story on this issue will be published in the Friday edition of the Santa Paula Times.

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