Web Exclusive: Nevada City shoots down sales tax increase | TheUnion.com

Web Exclusive: Nevada City shoots down sales tax increase

Dave Moller

A half-cent sales tax increase proposal did not rate a plug nickel with the Nevada City City Council Monday night.

“I know when I’m licked, and I’m licked,” said Councilman Steve Cottrell after his proposal to generate revenue was shot down. “I accept my defeat.”

Cottrell wanted a 12-person city committee formed to consider his proposal but he got nowhere. Council members voted 3-2 against the plan.

Councilwoman Sally Harris said the idea to raise the tax within the city from 7.375 percent to 7.875 percent was “putting the cart before the horse” in dealing with the overall financial situation.

“I would suggest we talk about a five-year time horizon,” Harris said, to study historic recurring and nonrecurring city revenue and expenses, “and then look at the alternatives.” Harris said the city should look at a broader picture and spending cuts along with ways to enhance revenue.

Cottrell had some support from Councilman Kerry Arnett, who said he would like to, “see your half and raise you an eighth,” bringing the tax proposal to 8 cents on the dollar.

But Harris was joined by Mayor Conley Weaver and Councilman David McKay against raising the sales tax soon.

“We need to show a need (before raising taxes),” McKay said.

Weaver said the downtown community is trying to create more business and raising the sales tax seemed “like an awful backward way to approach it.”

In other business:

– The council voted 4-1, with Cottrell losing again, to extend the city’s emergency tree-cutting ban until Oct. 30. Local arborists earlier feared the ban would endanger homes and lives but the council said trees causing danger could still be cut with city hall approval.

Cottrell wanted language in the extension to address diseased, dying and dangerous trees, but did not get it.

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