Tuesday, September 29, 2020

NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED WEEKLY ON WEDNESDAY - WEBSITE UPDATED THURSDAY

Home News Colusa City Council adopts statement of support for sales tax increase measure

Colusa City Council adopts statement of support for sales tax increase measure

The Colusa City Council last week voted to adopt a statement in support of Measure A, which will be placed alongside the ballot measure come November. The proposed measure will change the city’s tax rate from 7.5 percent to 8.25 percent.

Opponents of the measure will also have the opportunity to issue a statement on the ballot, explaining their position against the measure, before the general election.

For its part, the city is hoping that voters will pass the sales tax increase to help offset a projected budgetary shortfall of nearly $235,000 in fiscal year 2016-17 and beyond.

“This would be a great start,” Interim City Manager Randy Dunn said. “This is geared toward balancing the budget, keeping services going, and keeping our current personnel employed.”

The city’s budget projections for the next four years show an increasing deficit through 2020. The city anticipates that its expenditures will outstrip its revenues by nearly $303,000 in fiscal year 2017-18, about $368,000 in fiscal year 2018-19, and nearly $430,000 in fiscal year 2019-20. The cumulative effect of those annual deficits will cause the city’s general fund reserves to be completely exhausted by 2020, the city said.

In its statement of support, the city said the increase in sales tax could potentially generate up to $450,000 annually to help fund essential services, and that about 60 percent of the funds generated would be from out of town taxpayer dollars. If approved, the sales tax rate in Colusa would be raised from 7.5 percent to 8.25 percent, meaning that on a purchase of $100, the consumer would pay an additional $0.75.

“We have downsized staff, combined positions and done everything we can on the expenditure side, and if we go any further, it’s going to affect vital services. Beyond police and fire, it extends to streets, parks and trees, and beyond,” Councilmember Greg Ponciano said. “We don’t have a spending problem, we have an income problem, and it’s really nobody’s fault – it’s a result of the recession and the economy.”

The funds from Measure A won’t be a cure-all for the city’s budget in the long term, however.

“We can’t just hang onto the laurels of this initiative by itself. For us to say that this is a cure-all for the city, that would be false,” Dunn said. “We are also going to be dependent on more people ‘Shopping Colusa,’ spending money locally, and helping to invigorate the local economy.”

Ramifications for the budgetary shortfall are not so distant as 2020. As it stands, there will have to be cuts in the coming year, which Dunn described as “very serious.”

“That’s not a scare tactic – that’s just a reality,” Dunn said. “

Many, if not most of those cuts will have to come from public safety, which takes up the lion’s share of the city’s budget – potentially meaning reduced essential services to city residents.

In the draft statement of support, the city specifically states that “with a yes vote, the city will be able to ensure financial sustainability to maintain police and fire services… (and) the failure of Measure A will result in mandatory cuts in city services and personnel, primarily in safety personnel which is not in the best interest of the citizens.”

“We don’t want to confuse our message,” Dunn said. “We are trying to tell the citizens of Colusa that our future looks a little grim, as far as balancing our budget and as far as revenues coming in. We want to let them know ahead of time that we need help.”

Colusa Sales Tax

While the council initially discussed having an advisory measure attached to Measure A, which would have suggested that the funds be used for public safety, the city ultimately decided against the advisory to avoid potential confusion. Instead, they have indicated on the statement of support that public safety will be the hardest hit.

“The last time we did this, we had people come up to us and say that (the advisory measure) confused them. The advisory measure passed unanimously, and lot of people that voted for it thought they were voting for the measure itself,” Dunn said.

He added that the city was hoping to bring a resolution before the council, clearly defining how they intended to use the potential new funds.

“I know that this council is not supportive of pet projects or frivolous spending. That may have been the case in the past, but it is not so with this council,” Dunn said. “It is not our intent to get this passed and hire more people. Our intent is to maintain what we have.”

A copy of the city council’s full statement of support for Measure A is available to the public at city hall. Additionally, Dunn said that he and City Finance Director Toni Benson would be available to answer questions and provide information as needed.

Ponciano said that the same goes for him.

“I plan on making myself very available to talk to people about this. My cellphone number is on my cards in city hall. I want to know the concerns, the questions, and I want to be as transparent as possible.”<

Brian Pearson
Brian Pearson
Brian Pearson is the former Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects included reporting local government and the sports page.

More News

Quilters serve local needs, fire victims

Had it not been for a coronavirus pandemic, the Pacific Flyway Quilters would have held their annual Community Service Giveaway Night with a little...

Colusa County Office of Education – Request for Proposals

COLUSA COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS The Colusa County Office of Education (CCOE) is accepting emailed bids for the bulk purchase of LTE Equipment...

CUSD working to get some students back to school

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed modern education in a way never before experience. For most schools in the state of California, getting students back to...

Life, as I see it: Wind down

As the weather turns cooler and days begin to be shorter, I find myself winding down. The business of summer, the craving to spend...

Local Government

City grants permit for cannabis expansion

Colusa’s first cannabis nursery is now looking to expand operations to include full marijana cultivation. The Colusa City Council voted 4-1, on Sept. 15, to...

Local governments spending CARES to boost IT infrastructure

In order to reduce physical interaction between individuals in the era of Covid-19, local governments are using CARES Act funding to invest in better...

County appoints new Airport Advisory Committee

The Colusa County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 1 appointed seven members to the newly restructured Airport Advisory Committee. The previous committee of about 15...

Public & Legal Notices

City of Colusa – Notice of Public Hearing

CITY OF COLUSA CITY COUNCIL NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT THE CITY COUNCIL will hold a Public Hearing in the City Council...

City of Colusa – Notice of Public Hearing

CITY OF COLUSA CITY COUNCIL NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT THE CITY COUNCIL will hold a Public Hearing in the City Council...

County of Colusa – Notice of Vacancy – Colusa Cemetery District

COUNTY OF COLUSA NOTICE OF VACANCY Notice is hereby given that the Colusa County Board of Supervisors  is soliciting applications to fill a vacancy for an...

City of Colusa – Ordinance No. 542

CITY OF COLUSA ORDINANCE NO. 542 AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF COLUSA REZONING APPROXIMATELY 5.39 ACRES TO GENERAL COMMERCIAL PLANNED DEVELOPMENT...

Colusa County Resource Conservation District – Request for Statement of Qualifications for Contractors

COLUSA COUNTY RESOURCE CONSERVATION DISTRICT REQUEST FOR STATEMENT OF QUALIFICATION FOR CONTRACTORS FOREST HEALTH PROJECT PHASE 1 IN COLUSA COUNTY The Colusa County Resource Conservation District...