The Elk Grove City Council on Feb. 28 voted, 4-1, to continue public outreach on the feasibility of a city sales tax measure.
Helping the council weigh their decision was the results of a community survey, which shows a 60.7 percent approval by community members for a 1-cent sales tax to fund police and city services. That tax is estimated to provide the city with about $19 million per year.
A half-cent sales tax measure, which would provide the city with about $9.5 million per year, received a 59.7 percent approval by community members.
Based on those percentages, the community sensitivity between a half-cent and full-cent sales tax increase is nonexistent.
However, Christopher Jordan, assistant to the city manager, said that there is “clearly” more conversation that needs to occur on the topic of a half-cent or full-cent sales tax increase.
Jordan also expressed a need to obtain feedback from more people, more groups and increase the diversity of that outreach.
Since last August, community engagement has been conducted to gain an understanding of the community’s desires, needs and priorities for city services and amenities.
A link on the city’s website was also launched to collect feedback from the community.
The public outreach was established through the council’s adoption last year of updated goals and priorities for the fiscal years 2017-18 and 2018-19 that would guide council and staff activities.
Recognized in the update is the desire to identify and pursue funding opportunities that intend to help the city to meet near- and long-term goals.
Possible services and programs that would require additional funding are expanding police services, road maintenance and transportation improvements, economic development, and community facilities such as a library and performing arts center.
Mentioned among the funding options for those services and programs is a potential, city sales tax measure.
A general-purpose sales tax measure would require a majority approval by Elk Grove voters to pass, while a special purpose sales tax for pre-identified purposes would require two-thirds of those votes.
The city staff reported that because of the city’s current revenue insufficiency, additional funding would be necessary to address some or all of the needs, desires and priorities identified by the community.