Bob Edgren for Capitola City Council
CAPITOLA MEASURE F TAX
Whenever there is a item vote that basically circumvents Prop. 8 and hands a government entity a blank check, red flags go up. Although funds are great to have, the opportunity arises for misuse or misunderstanding. It is for this reason, the eyes of the City Council are most importantl to insure taxpayer's monies are spent wisely.
Measure F on the November ballot lacks certain safeguards that I would have liked to have seen implemented. For example, there are no caps or restrictions. I believe within Measure F, an annual or lifetime cap for law enforcement, pensions, the pier, beach, should be outlined, and as a council member I will address this.
Should we hand government a blank check? The momentum for passing Measure F is strong and with tags like "Save Our Pier", or "Keep Capitola Safe", it's pretty hard for voters to say no. One thing we must be well cognizant of however, would this be the tipping point for some businesses to leave Capitola? Would such a tax be a scare for businesses not to establish in Capitola? Sometimes it is not the tax, but the fact that a local government would ADOPT such a tax that can "spook" a business from establishing here or even leave. Their thinking, "Well if Capitola passes a quarter cent tax now, can they implement another tax measure in the future? What does this do to my bottom line?" This has to be calculated into and considered in any business plan. 41st Avenue is the main sales tax income generator and economic engine. In comparison, the village is a minor sales tax contributor.We know that several large tax contributors are struggling now including Sears, Orchard Supply and Macy's.
Macy's recently announced a nationwide store closing. The Capitola Mall location survived the the first round of closings. What if however, on a corporate level, the difference of closing or keeping open is dependent on a quarter percent sales tax increase? What about the auto dealerships in our auto row center? They originally came to Capitola for its business friendly mentality, a conservative tax mentality. Is this a business friendly tax? What feedback have we had from these named retailers? What would be the situation if we lost one or more of these giant retailers, especially if that loss was result of Measure F being the final straw in the decision to close, leave or open? Could another community like Watsonville entice auto dealers to relocate with incentives?
We should not lose vision that the success of Capitola has been the result of conservative not liberal thought. It was with this mind frame
that the City of Capitola has become the gem of the County for businesses and residences. We are not Santa Cruz. We are not Watsonville. And it is with this mind frame I believe we should continue. Let us be the magnet for new business, and continue our profile for a safe place to live and invest.
Again, if Measure F passes, which it most likely will, we need a vigilant and responsible City Council to insure any funds are allocated wisely and not spent irresponsibly.
CAPITOLA MEASURE F
On July 28, 2016, the City Council passed a resolution (link below) to place a ballot measure on the November 8, 2016, Municipal Election Ballot pertaining to extending the sunset date on the existing one-quarter cent (0.25%) transactions and use (“sales”) tax to maintain fiscal stability and protect essential City facilities and services. Following is the ballot measure question:
Without increasing taxes, shall the City of Capitola extend the 2017 sunset date of its current one-quarter percent sales tax for an additional ten years to protect essential city services and facilities, such as police and emergency safety programs, protect the wharf and beach from storms and rising sea levels and maintain and improve parks, sidewalks and bike lanes with all funds staying local?
ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE F
Capitola is a wonderful place to live and visit. The many amenities that we enjoy here – the beach, Soquel Creek, our parks, our walking town, the Wharf and our safe community – they are all major parts of what we identify with as Capitolans.
Together we passed Measure D in 2008, a one-quarter cent sales tax, which generates about $1.1 million a year. This tax will expire in 2017. Today, we continue to have important needs, and we are asking you to vote to extend this tax for ten years. This measure will support the following important projects:
Refurbish the Wharf, originally built more than 150 years ago, to protect it and maintain it for future generations.
Preserve the beachfront, our creek, and lagoon from storms.
Ensure the Police Department is fully staffed, as has been achieved since the sales tax was first enacted.
Improve our parks, sidewalks and bike lanes.
Capitola’s population swells in the summertime and expenses for public safety and increased recreational activities skyrocket. We need a fully staffed Police Department to ensure public safety year-round, including during periods of increased demand each summer.
It is time for us to take care of the Wharf and beach for the next generation. With sea level rise and a predicted increase in the frequency and intensity of storms, this is an important issue for us. The City budget includes funds for minor Wharf repairs, but major repairs are very expensive.
We want to provide our community with the highest level of service, PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT and ENHANCE PUBLIC SAFETY. This small tax is spread across a broad spectrum of people including tourists and visitors.
Please VOTE "YES" on this measure and help us continue to keep Capitola the wonderful place that it is.
Stephanie Harlan, Vice Mayor
Michael Termini, City Council Member
Carin Hanna, Business Owner/Craft Gallery
Rudy Escalante, Chief of Police
Gayle T. Ortiz, Vision Capitola
CITY ATTORNEY IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE F
In 2004, City voters approved a temporary ¼ percent sales tax (also known as the transaction and use tax) increase, which was originally scheduled to sunset on June 30, 2010. In 2008, City voters extended the sunset date to December 31, 2017. As a result of these two voter approvals the current sales tax rate in Capitola (combined state and other local sales tax) is 8 ¾ percent. This ordinance, if adopted by the voters, would extend the expiration date of this temporary sales tax increase for an additional ten years, to December 31, 2027.
All City revenue generated by this sales tax is used by the City to pay for general City programs and services, including public safety, wharf, beaches, parks, and street and sidewalk improvements. As such, this ballot measure proposes a “general tax” rather than a “special tax” and requires a simple majority vote for adoption.
The above statement is an impartial analysis of the proposed sales tax increase ordinance.
Tony Condotti, City Attorney
IMPARTIAL FISCAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE F
The Capitola City Council has placed a measure on the November 8, 2016 ballot, asking voters to approve an extension of the current one-quarter of one percent (0.25 percent) Measure D transaction and use tax (approved in 2008) for ten years. If passed by a simple majority of the voters voting on the measure, the Ordinance would expire automatically on December 31, 2027, unless further extended by the voters.
It is estimated that the ten-year extension will generate approximately $1.1 million annually for a total over ten years of $11 million. The actual amount of revenue will vary based on economic conditions, growth or declines in the sales tax base, and inflation.
The revenue generated will fund general governmental purposes including wharf and beach maintenance, police services, and bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements. Annual audits showing where the revenue was spent will be conducted and made available to the public.
Mark Welch, Finance Director
REBUTTALS TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE F
Rebuttals are due to the City Clerk by Friday, August 26th at 5 PM. Contact the City Clerk for guidelines to file a rebuttal.
CAPITOLA CANDIDATES FORUM
The Capitola Chamber of Commerce will be sponsoring the Capitola Candidates Forum. It will be held in the Council Chambers on Wednesday, October 5th, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. This forum will be televised “live” on Charter Communications Cable Channel 8 and will be replayed on Community Television of Santa Cruz County prior to the election.
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY REGISTRAR OF VOTERS
The Registrar of Voters is the County Elections Official and the office conducts all Federal, State, County, Municipal, School District, and Special District scheduled and special elections. The ROV Office is also responsible for voter registration, education and outreach; maintenance of registration files; verification of initiatives, referenda and recall petitions; and filing of campaign reports.
701 Ocean Street, Rm. 210, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Open Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
General: P.O. Box 611360, Capitola, CA 95161-1360
Website: http://www.votescount.com/ (link is external)