Smith flips, gives SLO sales tax needed support

May 7, 2014
Kathy Smith

Kathy Smith

Following a change of mind by outgoing Councilwoman Kathy Smith, the San Luis Obispo City Council can place a renewal of the city’s half cent sales tax on the November ballot without skirting the law.

State law requires a two-thirds vote of a city council to place a general tax on the ballot. But, citing a court ruling, City Attorney Christine Dietrick gave the council approval to place a renewal of Measure Y on the ballot with a simple majority vote.

At an April 1 council meeting, council members Dan Carpenter and Kathy Smith opposed Measure Y renewal, saying they did not trust the city to spend the funds properly. Smith said she would only support a special purpose tax.

Over the past month, though, numerous community members lobbied her to change her mind, Smith said.

On Tuesday she did.

“I would reluctantly give up my special purpose tax if we could get the kind of transparency and oversight that I feel is necessary to deal with my faith and trust,” Smith said.

Smith assured she would provide the needed fourth vote to place the sales tax on the ballot if the council would create a citizen’s oversight committee to track the use of the funds. She also requested that the committee direct city staff on how to spend the sales tax dollars.

The council majority of Mayor Jan Marx and council members John Ashbaugh and Carlyn Christianson agreed to create a committee but did not work out the details with Smith. The council continued the Measure Y discussion and is expected to finalize the language of the ballot measure at its May 20 meeting.

Following Smith’s flip, the city no longer faces the threat of a lawsuit over improperly placing a sales tax renewal on the November ballot.

Now, Councilman Dan Carpenter is the only member of the council who opposes a renewal of Measure Y. Carpenter said he would only considering endorsing the sales tax renewal if the council made a firm commitment to reining in staff salaries and paying down the city’s unfunded pension liabilities.

Carpenter also disapproved of the idea of the citizens oversight committee.

“It’s like a babysitting committee to what we are doing,” Carpenter said. “Our primary responsibility is fiscal oversight.”


14 Comments

  1. Slowerfaster says:

    Smith just heard the call from GOD, and properly changed her vote.

    May the Saints be praised !!!

    GOD LIVES !

    Halleluyah!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  2. isoslo says:

    The city needs the money to fund it’s retirement obligations!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 8

    • kayaknut says:

      They don’t wait for retirement, they give out raises, beefing up pensions, right now.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

      • isoslo says:

        Agreed, but all the governments in California are behind on the funding to CALPERS for the ever growing group of government retirees collecting huge pensions.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

        • kayaknut says:

          But as long as they get theirs the will continue to ignore the problem and push it down the road and expect someone else to deal with it.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  3. obispan says:

    SLO has decided that your taxes are to be used for, and City land sold at one-third market value to, benefit patronage projects. So basic services are now extra. And keep in mind that SLO is far from “lean and mean”. SLO is the poster child for waste and high-dollar do-nothing jobs. The City has take a hard line in cutting down on pay increases for PR purposes, but you are still free to steal and sell City equipment, and dump toxic waste when you are having a temper tantrum, with no repercussions. Nor do you actually have to do anything. Vote no, the City of SLO is absolutely flush with money. An analysis of City government could free up many millions of dollars for service needs. I can tell you City of SLO stories all day long. The sense of entitlement, and the conviction that they receive substandard pay and benefits, by City employees would blow your mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  4. fishing village says:

    Sales taxes help pay for services, and visitors pay sales taxes, therefore more services, like police to oversee the downtown so we can feel safe when shopping and buying goods and paying sales taxes!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 17

  5. So, what did we ever do BEFORE the passage of Measure ‘Y’ anyway and what is an additional $ 7,000,000 per year actually buying the citizens of SLO Town.

    So, after taking in about $ 45,000,000 in Measure ‘Y’ funds in the past 7.5 years and spending approximately $ 17.5 million of Measure ‘Y’ revenues on routine & normal maintenance (of which about $ 1.5 million can actually be considered capital improvements) where did all the rest of the Measure ‘Y’ money actually go and where is the accountability
    for future Measure ‘Y’ revenues? Good question now for the SLO City Council to address !

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 43 Thumb down 2

    • achillesheal says:

      What are you talking about factfinder? Costs of $17.5M for $1.5M in actual benefits is the most efficient use of government expenditures I have ever seen.

      Why stop at a haypenny. Amend Measure Y to raise sales tax to 15%, then government can really prosper!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 3

    • obispan says:

      What they did before Measure Y was make Measure Y necessary. Waste very plentiful tax revenue on anything but basic functions of government. Malibu Katie and every other City employee refusing to do their jobs under anything but their terms. I wish I could go on strike out of protest and keep my job.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. Mr. Holly says:

    Another hooray for Dan Carpenter. Having a citizens oversight committee is only a waste of staff time and a waste of the tax money. It’s pretty plain and simple. If you trust the promise of government vote for the tax and see what hey really do with it, as they have done in the past. Then if the government really wants you to trust them just put it on the ballot as a super majority vote where the money has to go for what it is intended for. Otherwise it will be spent on staff time trying to figure out how to spend it.
    Once again let’s hope Dan runs for Mayor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 2

  7. Human Reason says:

    Well at least Dietrick won’t costs the City another 500k in legal fees because her legal analysis is incorrect. Just VOTE no! And VOTE out the current majority so we can rid of Litchen and Dictrick.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

  8. achillesheal says:

    Voters will soon get another chance to keep their taxes high!

    It is the duty of citizens to turn over as much money as demanded to keep government bloated.

    Be a good citizen and renew Measure Y!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 6

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