Elk Grove City Council Approves $70,000 Expenditure To Gauge Voter Interest in Tax Hikes

March 11, 2016 |

As the Elk Grove City Council grapples with how to fund an array of discretionary projects and neglected road maintenance, it approved a $70,000 expenditure to gauge if voters could tolerate a local sales taxes increase.

The expenditure was approved at the city council's Wednesday night meeting by a 4-1 vote. Council Member Steve Detrick was the sole dissenting vote. 

The contract is an extension of an agreement the city entered into last fall with the Lew Edwards Group to conduct surveys on resident satisfaction levels. Under that contract, which costs $47,600, Edwards' conducted telephone surveys to measure constituent satisfaction with life in Elk Grove.

Based on the findings of that survey, the City Council decided to extend the contract in hopes of generating enough interest to possibly place a sales tax increase on the November ballot. Should the proposed increase make it to the ballot and be approved by a 66-percent majority, sales taxes would increase by up to one-half percent.

The staff report said, "These efforts [by the Lew Edwards group] will allow the City to gain more insight into resident priorities, satisfaction and future desires to help create a community empowered budget reflective of resident priorities such as maintaining rapid police response times, attracting local businesses and maintaining local roadways."

During public comment, Elk Grove resident Lisa Dixon skewered the council for the small sample size of fewer than 500 residents and what she characterized as the financial irresponsibility of the council.

"There was a sample of less than one-percent of citizens of Elk Grove," she said. "Now, probably for that same amount of money, you could have put a questionnaire in with my trash bill and gotten a higher response." 

During deliberations Council Member Pat Hume noted that the Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA), of which he is a board member, is also considering a countywide sales tax increase. Hume said he supports their proposed measure, and he would prefer the city's road funding maintenance needs be financed through the STA's measure should it also gain a 66-percent approval.   

Hume also voiced concern should the city pursue a sales tax hike, it could face long odds given the STA measure as well as other proposed tax measures facing voters on the November ballot.

"I think if we have both items on the ballot there is probably going to be voter fatigue starting with the State's efforts, and it will be a straight no all the way down the ballot," he added. 


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A Mellow Rooser said...

Chasing good money after bad-how many ways do we have to spell N-O to them! No means NO!

Connie said...

Okay, that is so funny: Mellow Rooser!


Many of us have posted comments on previous Elk Grove News articles that we believe the voters are not going to go for all of these tax increases and/or bond measures. Could it be that Pat Hume reads EGN?

The Elk Grove USD is already putting out PR on the dire need that the 1.6 billion dollar bond issue has to pass.

The well-informed voter may see the STA sales tax increase for road maintenance a duplication of the Elk Grove City Council asking for money as well; not taking into consideration the sales tax increase revenue will also be used to fund all the amenities on the Council’s wish list.

And then there will be those voters who are so sick and tired of government that they will vote no on everything. Probably the same voters who will be casting a vote for Donald Trump, that is if wins the Republican Party’s nomination – and he sure thinks he will after next week and the Florida primary!

The opinion from one voice, one vote: Bad timing to be putting this on the ballot. The Council could have saved some money here. More money going to yet another consultant!

Anonymous said...

Typical of the City, throw some more of our taxpayer funds out for another useless survey. No wonder we don't have enough money for road maintenance...they've spent it all on Feasibility Studies and Surveys. NO means NO from this household too!

Vice-Mayor Ly seems to be in a giving mood...maybe he'll contribute to one of the cities community needs.

From "Another Mellow Rooser"

Lynn said...

I suppose if the city council members each wrote a check from their own personal funds, and not their campaign fund I might see this spending of more money on a consultant worth it....however since they are not I will indeed be casting a no vote on any new taxes. Been to many meetings.....1 million dollars for a civic center site design that will never be used. I wonder could we frame the design pictures and display in our city council chambers as CITY ART. WE paid enough!
It was when I heard council tell staff to sharpen their pencils to find the money that I knew that our council's policies are damaging to us all. Staff is trying very hard to be good stewards of the money. It is this council and their policies that is very troubling. How much of our money do we want them to waste?

Trying to keep some of my hard earned dough! said...


Anonymous said...

Why in the world would anyone ever vote for a tax increase with NO designated use? The city has already spent $118,000. for consultants to screen a few people when anyone with any financial sense would know that is like throwing money out the door with no respect to the hard working taxpayers of this city. Do you have a
idea how many taxable sales need to be made to just break even on this worthless survey of a few hand picked voters?

This City Council never ceases to amaze me....only thing I've seen them rah rah about is some art work on utility boxes and some wayfinding signs while the rest of the city grows weeds and the roads revert back to gravel and dust.

Reality Bill said...

$70,000 wasted on a poorly thought out idea to test the willingness of the people to fund projects that may never be built, while giving gads of incentives to developers and allowing them to build shoddy projects to keep their profit margin's inching higher at our city's long term detriment.

Pat Hume proves again that he's the only member on the council who's life is based on reality.

I only hope the voters wake up before voting and realize we've been sold beachfront property in Arizona.
Time for wholesale changes on the council.

Anonymous said...

Just spend like Stockton does and declare bankruptcy, it's popular right now, everyone is doing it.

Anonymous said...


I just finished my survey, now give me the $70,000 consulting fee.

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