After facing reduced revenues from Indian Gaming, gas tax, the loss of the COPS grant, and a $300,000 budget deficit, the Colusa City Council considered placing a one-half cent tax on the ballot in the November 2016 election.
During the January 19, 2016, City Council Meeting, the Colusa City Attorney, Ryan Jones reported on the City’s revenue problem and discussed the staff’s recommendation for a half-cent sales tax initiative on the November ballot.
“Staff believes that a tax measure is necessary to sustain the level of services currently provided by the city,” said Jones in his staff report, “The main reason is that it has been tough to balance the general fund budget over the past few years.”
Interim City Manager, Randy Dunn explained that the loss in revenue comes from Indian Gaming, a reduction from the gas tax, and the loss of the COPS grant, and a $300,000 budget deficit.
Dunn stressed the importance of informing the public and that City didn’t want to be forced to lay off staff or reduce services.
In the staff report, Jones reported that it has been difficult for the Colusa Police Department to hire officers due to low pay and benefits. Although the Police Department is now at full capacity, the City needs to maintain this level of staffing as well as the City Fire Department.
“Without such an increase in the general fund, layoffs could be imminent,” said Jones.
Besides the lack of funding needed to support public safety services, the City of Colusa has no revenue source to fund capital for machinery, equipment, and infrastructure maintenance or improvements.
If approved, the City of Colusa will have the same sales tax rate as the City of Williams, at 8% and will bring an estimated $300,000 annually. The revenue generated from the proposed half-cent sales tax increase would go towards public safety to maintain current staffing, said Jones.
City Attorney Jones asked the Council to consider hiring an elections advisor to assist staff with the measure. The City of Colusa Council approved to bring back a resolution to proceed with the half-percent sales tax increase and agreed to hire an advisor.