City Council: Tax, SAFER grant,
La Terraza banquet hall on Monday agenda

May 16, 2014
Santa Paula News

Following a lengthy closed session the City Council Monday will be asked to approve-or not-a sales or parcel tax to beef up public safety and possibly streets at the May 19 meeting.

The council will also get an update on the grant program funding five firefighters and consider the enforcement agreement for a new banquet hall at the meeting.

But first the council will go behind closed doors at 5 p.m. for a closed session in the Administration Conference Room for an update on the arbitration with Santa Paula Water, LLC, and owners of the wastewater plant, labor negotiations and the continuing performance evaluation of City Manager Jaime Fontes.

At 6:30 p.m. the meeting will be continued in Council Chambers and be broadcast live on Time Warner Cable Channel 10 which will rerun the session according to schedule; the meeting will also be live-streamed on the city website and archived for viewing on demand.

There is only one presentation for Public Works Week to be accepted by Interim Public Works Director Brian Yanez.

Major items on the agenda include an update on the SAFER grant that allowed the SPFD to hire five, fulltime firefighters; the report by Chief Rick Araiza notes that the clock is ticking on the grant which ends in September although state and federal elected officials have signaled it looks good that the city will receive an extension on the funding. There has been some concern there could be a gap in the funding which would need alternate funds to keep the engines manned until the grant extension came through.

The council will also get a report on a proposed tax with a report that notes all the options for a special or general sales or parcel tax as well as breakdowns of revenue usage with splits between police, fire and roads or just police and fire. The amounts cited are 1 percent and .5 percent sales tax, which could garner about $1.6 million or $800,000 respectively. To match the sales tax analysis a parcel tax to bring the same revenues would cost property owners $112 or $224 annually on single parcels; multi-complexes would be taxed by the number of units and commercial/industrial property per acre. A parcel tax receives two-third voter approval, as does a special sales tax that would target spending; a general tax requires a simple majority but initiative language could describe intended use of revenue.

La Terraza owner Adan Sandoval will appear again before the council for an enforcement agreement for a new banquet hall that will be adjacent to the popular eatery located at the corner of 10th and Main streets. Sandoval had requested that the agreement be pulled from the last meeting for further discussions with planning staff.

City Hall is located at 970 E. Ventura St.

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