Survey Results of Proposed Sales Tax Hike To Be Discussed by Elk Grove City Council

February 26, 2018 |

When the Elk Grove City Council next convenes on Wednesday, February 28, one of the agenda items to be discussed will be the results of a recent survey to gauge the community's appetite for a sales tax increase. Although the city council has expressed a desire to hike taxes, the contents of the staff report are not entirely clear the findings of the survey. 

In recent months the city has  engaged the services of the political strategy and public relations firm Clifford Moss and Godbe Research "to launch a community engagement effort to understand the community-identified needs, desires, and priorities for services and amenities." Part of this service included a recent survey used to promote the tentative name of a sales tax increase, dubbed "the quality of life....."

That survey, along with outreach to community members last autumn, hoped to measure and provide the city would input to tailor a sales tax measure to be placed on one of two ballots in 2018. During their 2017 retreat meeting, the City Council outlined some general goals, which they called Strategic Imperatives to maintain services and bolster amenities.   

To facilitate, those goals, additional revenue sources would be needed, and a hike in the city's current eight-percent sales tax was placed in consideration. As was noted in the staff report written by Christopher Jordan, assistant to city manager Laura Gill, "the City’s current revenues are insufficient to deliver these desired increased services or amenities."

As early as the January 13, 2016, meeting of the Elk Grove City Council, the idea of increasing local sales tax as a funding mechanism for city services was floated. In that meeting, former mayor Gary Davis urged placement of the sales tax hike on that year's ballot (see video below).

With the Sacramento Transportation Authority's pursuit of Measure B in 2016, which sought to boost the countywide sales taxes one half of a percent, the city council decided against placing the local sales tax on the ballot. They feared to put a local, and the countywide sales tax hike, which failed, on the same ballot would not be appealing to enough voters to win approval. 

In Jordan's staff report he does not provide a summary of the survey findings other than to say they will be presented at the Wednesday meeting by Godbe Research. He does, however, offer two recommended courses of action.

Those actions include further expenditures of money and "continue public outreach on the feasibility of a City sales tax measure, including additional meetings with the community and survey work as necessary to inform a future City Council decision later in 2018." The other option Jordan presented is to "suspend all outreach work and consider the Strategic Imperative complete." 

Wednesday's meeting starts at 6 p.m.   

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D.J. Blutarsky said...

In the context of "transparency", I find it pathetic that the taxpayer has to wait until the night of the meeting to hear what the survey results found about raising our sales tax. You know the report is already completed and the City Council members won't be hearing it for the first time.

So the question to me is why the lack of advance notice to the public? Aren't we the ones who paid for the survey? Aren't we the ones who will pay the tax? I guess the information 'blackout' time gives cover for our leaders while they formulate strategies; package their soundbites; talk to their stakeholders...

We should be grateful I guess, that the issue was not put on the Consent Agenda, or on a special meeting agenda called at say, a Friday morning at 3:00 am!

Hooray for transparency!

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