Elk Grove Mayor Floats Sales Tax Increase to Fund City Projects; Good Idea?

January 18, 2016 | Tucked away at the end of two discussions during the Wednesday, January 13 Elk Grove City Council meeting on the...

January 18, 2016 |

Tucked away at the end of two discussions during the Wednesday, January 13 Elk Grove City Council meeting on the city's proposed projects including the aquatics center, senior center, Veterans Hall and animal shelter, Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis floated the idea of asking voters to approve a sales tax increase.

According to Davis' comments (See video below), in February the city council will be deliberating whether or not to place a sales tax increase on the November ballot. While not widely discussed during the council meeting, Davis noted they could be used to help construction and maintenance of these facilities.

"The C.F.D (community facilities districts, or Mello Roos taxes) doesn't have to be the only source," Davis added.

As currently structured, homeowners, including seniors at the Del Webb development, of Laguna Ridge area will be carrying the majority of the tax burden to built the aquatics center, senior center, and Veterans Hall. Other homeowners outside of Laguna Ridge, who are part of the so-called Community Facilities District 6 (CFD-6), will also be on the hook for construction and maintenance costs of these facilities.

Additionally, the Sacramento Transit Authority is considering asking for a county-wide sales tax increase to fund road maintenance and transit improvements. The Elk Grove City Council has repeatedly deferred $8 million in annual road maintenance in hopes of this measure making it to the ballot and being approved.

What happens to Elk Grove roads, which are already facing severe strain, if the STA measure fails? How will the city fund the deferred and future road maintenance?

If the STA sales tax increase fails, combined with a failure of the city's measure, will the residents of Laguna Ridge and CFD 2006-1 homeowners throughout the city be further burdened while other homeowners get a free pass?

And if  both of these measures fails, does the Elk Grove City Council have any financial contingency plans, or will roads continue to deteriorate, and will residents, especially seniors in Del Webb's Glenbrooke Subdivision be taxed out of their homes?

The plans may sound good in abstract to the Elk Grove City Council as they seek an election year accomplishment, but what about those left paying the bill?

What are your thoughts? 

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Anonymous said...

Why should retired citizens living in an age restricted community (Glenbrook) with their own aquatics facility be required to pay for an aquatics facility they will never use?

These people should be exempt from these increased fees. Many may be taxed out of their homes if not.

Only cost overrides related specifically to the senior center should affect these citizens. Patently unfair.

Connie said...

I am on the fence about the sales tax increase. But I don’t think it is right that the residents in Laguna Ridge and SEPA pay for everything through CFDs.

However, what I am not on the fence about is the current track record of this Council on completing capital projects.

We should not forget all the money wasted on the original civic center plans – almost a million dollars – three of them voted here. We should not forget about the money the majority of this Council voted to give P3 International – and lest we not forget what the lawsuit is currently costing us taxpayers, win or lose, Kronick will get their money up front.

With that said, this Council is not responsible for depleting the 50 million dollars we received in voter registration when Elk Grove first incorporated – the work of citizens, and not the Council, I might add. But spending 50 million in six years paints a picture of spend, spend, spend. Has the Council learned from past mistakes of their predecessors? For instance, forming our police department and transit system all in the same year which depleted most of our reserves.

I am of the opinion the Council hasn’t learned to listen to residents who have asked them to put the brakes on as we did when we said a loud, “No,” to the transit system.

Shouldn’t this Council finish one of the projects – pick one -- and then let’s see in 2018 if a sales tax increase is warranted to complete the others. And make no mistake about it, the list is pretty long and very expensive.

And here’s another thing to consider: If the school bond issue is also on the ballot, will seeing both on the ballot opt residents not to vote for either?

Who needs the money the most. . . EGUSD or the city of Elk Grove?

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Marty McFly said...

By the pomp and circumstance at the last Elk Grove City Council, it appears those up for reelection are already designing glossy mailers boasting about their accomplishments of the Elk Grove Aquatics Center, the Veteran's Memorial Hall, the Senior Center and the Animal Shelter. Never mind there isn’t enough money to pay for the aquatics center; let alone any of the others in their entirety.

Well fellows, it’s time to go “Back to the Future.” Doc Brown has the DeLorean out in front of city hall waiting to take to you back to circa 2006 where you will relive the big press conference when the city council hurried up and bought the library building hoping it would get Rick Soares and Dan Briggs reelected.

So how did that work for those two back in 2006?

Anonymous said...

This household will be voting NO on the sales tax increase...on the fence about the school bond issue should it be on the ballot.

The city is so out of touch with what the residents wants and have a pattern of lavish spending on studies that never go anywhere. A good steward of our finances would complete one project before it starts another. Instead our city throws every major project in the basket they can think of, knowing there are not funds to complete them. They have little regard for the taxpayers of this city.

It would be interesting to know how the Del Webb Community feels about the bonds being placed on their community for projects they have little use for. Or are they even aware of what the city has done to them or will be doing? ?? Maybe they are organizing and the city council will hear this loud rumble entering city hall one Wednesday night. I think we have many here in the community that would support them in their quest. IMO, the City Council screwed them big time.

An Elk Grove taxpayer and registered voter. said...

Based on the early soundbites, it appears that the Fab Five are banking on selling the sales tax increase with projects that they believe at least 2/3 of the registered voters will support. I don't know about you, but good luck with that one!

Public outreach meetings on the civic center date back almost 10 years now, and while those discussions at the time only centered on the preferred amenities, no discussion on how they would be financed occurred. Therein lies the rub: Those fancy features lose their luster once the price tag and method of payment is revealed.

No Virginia, there is NOT a Santa Claus, so other than a couple hundred kid swimmers, I seriously doubt 2/3 of the taxpayers feel like paying for these "toys". And you darn sure better not expect the Laguna Ridge folks, who have already paid dearly for this fantasyland, to open up their wallets to cough up even more dough.

So to the Fab Five, don't be so quick to rest on those laurels that were harvested at public outreach meetings 10 years ago. As Mr. Dylan said, "The Times They Are a Changin'."

Anonymous said...

I believe it is complete absurdity to ask a select few residents, in some of the newest homes with already high Mello Roos fees, including retired citizens, to carry the majority of the tax burden for this city's failed attempts to build infrastructure. What next? Taxpayers fund the Sports Arena? Whether you want to or not? Taxation without representation is wrong. Especially for those that purchased homes in the Laguna Ridge area under the premise that their current tax liabilities were all they were responsible for. It is wrong.

Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

From my perspective, a sales tax increase would be the least worst way for the city to finance the city council's projects. While sales taxes are all regressive, it would spread the burden of paying for the maintenance and construction of these facilities to all shoppers in Elk Grove, regardless of their residency, rather than the homeowners in Laguna Ridge.

Having said that, if the sales tax increase makes its way to the November ballot, I will vote against the measure. Our City Councilmembers have repeatedly shown little regard for taxpayers in general as they have pursued these various projects without a coherent financing plan. Let's take care of the boring, un-glamorous things first, then build self-sustaining projects without burdening anyone segment of our residents. To do so otherwise is irresponsible.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine these five running a private sector company! Remember the ice rink? Multiply that fiasco by a thousand and you have the current state of affairs!

Anonymous said...

Just like the movie Titanic.... How did that movie end?

Lynn said...

Remember the council members voted themselves a pay increase for the great job they have done! Why would they not want to tax us more?

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