As Election Day approaches we are inundated with information regarding the election issues that face us regionally and nationally. I believe that the solution to many of our problems is to place our focus closer to home.
As we look to build strength in our local community one of the most important issues that needs our support is Measure L.
Measure L is a sales tax initiative that, if enacted by Nevada City voters, would increase the Nevada City sales tax rate by three-eighths percent. After a period of five years, the temporary increase would automatically sunset and end. The projected revenue raised by the measure over the five-year period would be approximately $390,000 per year.
The economic crisis that we began to see in 2008 has taken its toll on the city coffers. With reduced revenues from sales, property and hotel taxes, the city has taken some big economic hits to the tune of about $2 million since fiscal year 2008-09. The city has always operated in an efficient manner but revenue has not kept pace with basic maintenance requirements and the level of service that we all have come to expect from our city. Parks, police, public works and our city hall administration have all been cut back to the bare minimum.
I am a local builder who has a long history of construction projects in Nevada City. I own commercial property in the city and am currently president of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce. I have worked with city administrations for several decades. I have always been impressed with the level-headed approach to business and budgets that has been the tradition in Nevada City.
To help balance prior and current budgets the city manager, city engineer and police chief have been paid at half time salary levels. These dedicated people do not go home early but spend the time necessary to get the job done. I witness this city spirit from the top down at all levels of the Nevada City staff.
Invoking this very small sales tax increase for a short period of time makes great sense to me. The people that visit our town and use our city services can help pay for the services and facilities they use. Roughly two thirds of the new monies raised would come from non-city residents. It would represent 38 cents on a $100 taxable sale. This is a fair system to offset this serious revenue shortfall.
As to how the money could be spent if the measure passes, the sample ballot argument in favor of Measure L, signed by all five City Council members, states the following:
“We could then consider preserving and maintaining our public buildings, Pioneer Park, and our public works and public safety equipment. Also possible would be expanded police foot patrols, meeting adequate staffing levels, reopening City Hall on Fridays and reducing or postponing proposed future water and sewer rate increases.”
I have been closely watching the city’s diligence in managing the new revenue from Measure S and the related work projects for the major upgrades to our city streets and sidewalks over the past six years. I have great confidence in the management of these new sales tax funds to help take care of our unmet needs and hope the voters give us the chance for that to happen.
I don’t want to wait for the recession to end to keep Nevada City vital and vibrant. I want to do that now. Whether it’s providing proper maintenance to the swimming pool at Pioneer Park or sustaining the new foot patrols being provided by the police department, I am solidly behind Measure L. Thank you.
Gary Tintle lives in Nevada City.
... the city has taken some big economic hits to the tune of about $2 million since fiscal year 2008-09.