Sales tax proposal rejected by Marysville City Council
A half-cent sales tax proposal that Marysville officials hoped to place on the November ballot fell flat with City Council members last week.
In his last report to the City Council last week before beginning his retirement, Administrative Services Manager Dixon Coulter made his case for bringing the proposal to voters.
The tax increase could potentially represent $800,000 to $1 million annually in increased General Fund revenues, according to Coulter.
Eight of the top 10 sales tax producers in the city, he pointed out, are gas stations.
"The people of this city aren't buying the vast majority of that gasoline," he told council members.
Marysville, he said, "is chronically underfunded for the level of services required by the transient daytime population that affects this area."
By voting for the tax increase, he said, "the citizens of the city could allow us to more adequately provide those services."
The city's attempt at a half-cent sales tax increase in November 2008 was soundly defeated. A similar measure in Wheatland passed.
In Marysville last week, the idea's revival went nowhere.
"I'm opposed to this, even if I thought it had a good chance of passing," said Mayor Bill Harris. "This will be viewed as the City Council coming to them wanting more money again."
Councilman Dale Whitmore echoed Harris' sentiments.
"From the few people I've spoken with about this, I've got an angry reaction," he said.
"I hear negative comments about the red-light cameras. ... Marysville has got a down-and-out reputation, and I think this is going to set us back that much further that people have to come to the polls to vote down a half-cent sales tax," he said.
Councilman Jim Kitchen opposed the measure because he felt the chances for its success were slim.
Kitchen said that he was initially in favor of the move and that he had been behind it during meetings of the budget committee.
"But the cigarette tax was voted down, and that should have been a slam dunk," he said. "I would see this as a waste of effort and money."
Councilman Ricky Samayoa was the proposal's sole supporter.
"There's a lot of people that know there's a lack of resources here for us to have a proper city and manage it," he said.
Continued cuts to maintenance and other aspects of the city's budget, he said, hurt chances for an economic recovery.
"The way we're continuing to go, it's just going to be a dying city, even if the economy picks up," he said. "Give folks the opportunity to have this debate."
Councilwoman Christina Billeci said she did not think a ballot measure made sense.
"We need to balance the budget with the revenues we have," she said.
Kitchen and Harris are up for re-election in November. Billeci will be vacating her council seat in November.
CONTACT Nancy Pasternack at email@example.com or 749-4781. Find her on Facebook at /ADnpasternack or on Twitter at @ADnpasternack.