Grass Valley to consider city sales tax – agenda included |

Grass Valley to consider city sales tax – agenda included

Grass Valley City Council members will consider whether to ask city residents to support a sales tax for transportation projects.

The proposal to put a half-cent sales tax measure on the November ballot is on the agenda for the City Council meeting starting at 7 p.m. tonight.

Council members also will hold a public hearing and are expected to vote on new development impact fees for local traffic improvements. After five years of no increases at all, the new fees would increase for every type of development at least 32 percent and as much as 213 percent, according to a city report.

Council members also will consider an agreement with automotive dealer Matt Weaver to repay him most of the nearly $400,000 he is spending to build a traffic light at the corner of Idaho-Maryland Road and Railroad Avenue.

The sales tax measure is being considered to pay for four specific projects within Grass Valley city limits.

A recent county-wide survey showed more than two-thirds of voters, including city residents, would favor a tax measure specifically for transportation improvement projects.

However, it is unclear whether the Nevada County Transportation Commission, which first floated the idea, would be able to garner the support it needs in time for putting the measure on the November ballot, commission director Dan Landon said. The commission would need to win the support of councils in Grass Valley, Nevada City, Truckee and the county Board of Supervisors by early July to put such a measure on the ballot.

Robert Doty, the city’s financial advisor, reported that a city-wide tax could raise $2.7 million in the first year. It could raise $70 million over the course of 20 years.

The city could float bond issues against the tax income to fund projects. The four specific projects being considered for such funding are:

– The Dorsey Drive interchange with the Golden Center Freeway, estimated to cost at least $16.75 million.

Mayor Gerard Tassone said local funding could help attract even more money from the state. “The state (Department of Transportation) somehow finds these pots of money when it sees the communities are willing to get behind” a project, Tassone said.

– The Wolf Creek Parkway, including sidewalks and bicycle paths, for an estimated $13.5 million.

– A parking structure downtown at South Auburn and Neal streets, for an estimated $10 million to $12 million.

– Measures to slow down residential-area traffic and improve deteriorating infrastructure, for an estimated $16.5 million.

“We want to have specific projects that the money would be earmarked for and a time frame when they would be done,” Tassone said.

The sales tax money would not be used to fund projects listed on the city’s capital improvement plan to deal with the impacts of new growth, he said.

The state base rate for sales taxes is 7.25 percent. Nevada County voters added a .125-percent tax to support local libraries, bringing the current county-wide sales tax to 7.375 percent.

An additional half-cent in Grass Valley would raise that to 7.875 percent.

Placer County voters also will consider a half-cent sales tax for transportation, raising their county rate to 7.75 percent.

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