By Melinda Munson

Ordinance 22-10 was sent back to committee to flesh out when the possible 1% sales tax increase would begin and what the extra funds might cover.

Proposed by Assemblymember Dan Henry, the ballot proposition would bump sales tax from 5% to 6% during the second and third calendar quarters, April through September. Henry hoped for 6.5% but the rest of the body was resistant. The national average is 6.3%. 

The mayor and several assembly members brought up the importance of voters understanding where the money would be spent.

“There are many options,” Mayor Andrew Cremata said. “The clinic is a black hole of subsidized funding that is likely to skyrocket in the coming months and years. The school budget has increased significantly over the past eight years. At virtually every meeting, residents request the assembly consider constructing a pool. Clearly defining where the money will go not only allows voters an opportunity to better understand how the money will be spent, it provides valuable information to the assembly when various budget requests are made from the clinic, school, or whomever.”

Cremata recommended the new rate not be implemented until 2024 so tour operators have time to negotiate the added 1% into their rates.

Assemblymember Deb Potter listened to the Nov. 30 finance meeting.

“There were a lot of really good questions that came up and [it] seemed like there was some consensus that no one’s in a big hurry to get this on the ballot, or at least we have the time to postpone this until the Dec. 15 meeting and address some of those same concerns,” she said.

If Ordinance 22-10 passes, voters would need to approve the legislation. The ordinance was added to the Dec. 15 assembly meeting agenda.