Slo council signs off Measure Y renewal

July 2, 2014

sloBy JOSH FRIEDMAN

The San Luis Obispo City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to place a renewal of Measure Y, the city’s half-cent sales tax, on the November ballot.

A simple majority vote on November 4 would extend the sales tax for eight years. It is currently scheduled to expire in April 2015.

Tuesday’s decision concluded three months of council debate on the issue. Councilman Dan Carpenter cast the lone dissenting vote, and Councilwoman Kathy Smith provided a crucial fourth vote in support of the measure.

The council majority consisting of Mayor Jan Marx and council members John Ashbaugh and Carlyn Christianson have long stated that they support renewal of Measure Y. However, California regulations call for a two-thirds vote of a city council to send a tax measure to voters.

At an April 1 meeting, Smith opposed Measure Y renewal, stating that she did not trust city staff to properly spend the money raised. Smith instead called for a special purpose tax, which would require two-thirds support from voters in order to pass.

But, Smith changed her mind and, in May, agreed to vote in favor of Measure Y renewal as a general purpose tax. She requested in exchange that the council create a citizens’ oversight committee to track the use of the tax dollars. The council did so on Tuesday.

“My support expresses hope that the elected council will be forceful in its commitment to appoint a valid oversight commission and hold staff’s feet to the fire on sharing accurate data,” Smith said Tuesday.

Carpenter said the idea of the oversight committee is absurd and he will not recognize it if it is adopted. He also said that the council is ignoring a large number or residents who oppose a general purpose tax or any type of city sales tax.

Many residents have complained that city staff did not use Measure Y funds as promised. Much of the Measure Y money has gone to back-filling staffing costs and routine maintenance.

City staffers claim that they spent 60 percent of the sales tax funds on capital improvement projects. In recent weeks, though, staff has offered varying definitions of capital improvement projects, often including routine expenditures like street sweeping.

Most of Tuesday’s debate focused on what role city staff can play in issuing information pertaining to the Measure Y campaign. California law forbids staff from supporting the passage of the ballot measure, but both Carpenter and Smith said staffers have been promoting Measure Y renewal.

Carpenter said city staffers have been acting like cheerleaders for the initiative.

The council opted to instruct staff not to make any more public presentations about Measure Y renewal.

Additionally, the council chose to let residents craft the ballot arguments for and against renewal of the sales tax. The council is now looking for applicants for the roles.

Voting will take place during the general election on Nov. 4, and absentee voters will receive their ballots about a month prior.


15 Comments

  1. falconbh says:

    Tax Independence –

    Time to Vote NO

    1. Local Sales Tax Increases
    2. Excessive School Tax
    3. Road Tax
    4. Water Rate Increases
    5. Sanitation Tax Bailout
    6. New College Tax
    7. Sewer Tax
    8. Future Pension Bailout
    9. Conference Center Tax
    10. Excessive Compensation

    Let’s be honest we are all under attack by City Staffs, Consultants, Unions, and Elected
    Officals who have stopped listening to the voters. When you look at rising property taxes and shrinking paychecks we must exercise our vote to reject Excessive Taxation !
    We must take a stand together in November.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  2. kayaknut says:

    Why shouldn’t all those employed and supported by the city vote “YES” for this tax? They know they will get it back and then some in the form of increased salaries, benefits and pensions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  3. rogerfreberg says:

    They do it not because they need it… but because they can.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  4. falconbh says:

    I watched the South County reject the Police Tax and then later the Fire Tax this past year by large margins.
    Really think taxpayers are starting to feel the financial pain of Higher Property Taxes, Water Rates, School Taxes, Future College Tax, and now the 8 Year Proposed Sales Tax.

    Register-Vote-Inform-Change

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  5. shelworth says:

    Just don’t buy anything in SLO. Lots of other towns would like your business.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 3

  6. DennySLO says:

    City staff has been campaigning for the continuance of measure “Y”. What a shocker, as the money will just continue rolling into their pockets and pensions.

    I find it interesting that the counsel had to “instruct” staff to not make any more public presentations about the measure “Y” renewal. Let me ask this question: where has the money come from to promote measure “Y” for the second go around? Why is the staff not working on actual projects that existing instead of focusing on publically pumping up the money train called measure “Y”?

    VOTE NO on measure “Y”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 2

  7. SamLouis says:

    Renewing Measure Y and the ludicrous $177M San Luis Unified School District bond initiative would NEVER pass if the truth can be truly disseminated. The question is, can the truth actually make it to the voters in this area?

    The Tribune is simply a waste. A truly rotten “newspaper.” It’s not going to present the facts on either of these two issues. It will provide a highly skewed viewpoint designed to placate its political supporters and not edify its readers.

    KSBY, KCOY, KEYT and the rest are and have always been news-lite at very best. I think it’s up to CCN and word of mouth. The downright stupid $310M proposed bond measure for Cuesta College failed in 2006. I think the aforementioned $177M measure will similarly fail. Measure Y is going to be very close…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 2

    • r0y says:

      Dude, we elected Bush twice and Obama twice. You still have faith in voters or legitimate elections? It’s either a done-deal, in the bag through corruption or they know they have enough people on the dole to pass it for financial self-interests.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4

      • SamLouis says:

        “Dude”;

        SLOC voters rejected the $310M Cuesta College bond proposal in 2006 when most pundits felt it was a done deal. I think there is also an excellent chance that voters will reject the ridiculous $177M SLO schools bond proposal. The $177M number is so offensively high and so lacking in reality that I think it may well be rejected. Measure Y will be a lot closer.

        The brand of bitter apathy people like you spread is the real enemy! Get informed and vote!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. Mr. Holly says:

    Once again a big WHOYA for Dan Carpenter for holding to his beliefs. Ms. Carpenter folded and now it will cost the taxpayers additional monies to mainly support the needs of staff. Oh sure you will see some money spent on projects but in the end staff will receive more benefits and perks. Fools beware.
    The next suckers in line will be the taxpayers in Atascadero with their tax initiative.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 2

    • r0y says:

      I love the excuse Atascadero uses, as all government types like to use: other places are doing it, so we should too!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  9. falconbh says:

    I just do not believe that these New Sales Taxes will pass in November. These “temporary taxes” have just become new entitlements for salaries, benefits, and early pensions. Public works , infrastructure, safety, are used as to convince voters that they are doing the right thing for their communities.
    It is time to Vote NO !

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 3

    • hijinks says:

      Unfortunately, it will pass. There is no limit to the ignorance/stupidity of the smug populace of Happy Town USA. Too busy being happy to think. You can tell them all the reasons to vote against it, and they’ll be swayed by a happy face ad from the Chamber of Commerce clique who’s behind this tax. (Sure want to see who’s signing the vote-in-favor ballot argument!) By the way, does anybody know the Chamber, that bastion of independent market-based business acumen, needs a six-figure city taxpayer handout every year just to stay in existence? How’s that for conflict of interest? That’s one place Measure Y funds go.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 31 Thumb down 7

      • r0y says:

        I concur. The same group that gives us Marx, Hill, Gibson, et.al. will likely shoot themselves (and us) in the foot once more.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

      • catdude says:

        You paint SLO residents with a rather broad brush, there, hijinks. So, i am stupid, ignorant, and smug because I live and vote in SLO? Well f#uk you and horse you rode in on. I dislike the disgusting SLO mayor and her cronies as much as anybody. I’ll bet you are are one of stupid, ignorant, meat-eating North County bumpkins, huh? Hell, you probably voted for monkey-boy Bush…. This is the kind of discourse you like? Keep it up….

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

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