On Tuesday night, the City of Antioch will hold a special city council meeting with just 24-hours notice to fix ballot language on a proposed November Ballot Measure that would add a 1% sales tax to the city.
The meeting is being held because the wording approved last week was more than the 75-word allowed for placement on the ballot.
The controversial proposal was approved last Tuesday in a unanimous vote asking residents to “tax themselves”. While many residents have come out in support of youth services, many have argued that the full funding should mimic Measure C and be extended for police and code enforcement services and the proposal should include an oversight committee and a sunset.
Under the proposal, Measure will Measure C funding into a “new” tax for police and code enforcement and provide them with additional revenue, however, it would also work to fund youth services, parks and quality of life services.
During the meeting, the Antioch Police Offices Association along with Councilmember Lori Ogorchock argued to tweak the proposed percentage spends to provide 80% to police services and Code Enforcement. Mayor Sean Wright and Councilmember Tony Tiscareno agreed. Ultimately, they pushed for an 80-10-10 split in the proposal.
At that point, Derek Cole, City Attorney, explained that the only action taken tonight could be approval of placing the measure on the ballot, they could not determine how the money would be spent until the budget cycle.
“This is not a binding document and the tax can be spent for any lawful purpose at any time. So even if you were to follow this spending priority as its written now, it can be changed at anytime going forward,” said Cole.
According to City Clerk Arne Simonsen, the cost to place the measure on the ballot is $63,950.
Antioch resident and former City Councilman Manny Soliz offered his very own proposal Tuesday to the council in under 74-words that he would prefer them adopt.
His proposal includes simply a renewal of Measure C at one-cent rate and offers a sunset of November 30, 2026. It also includes a citizens oversight committee with expenditures available for public review.
Quality of Life Measure. To maintain Antioch’s fiscal stability, police patrols, 911 response, youth violence prevention programs; ensuring water quality/safety; cleaning up parks/illegal dumping; and other essential services; shall the measure be adopted approving an ordinance to renew the sales tax at the one- cent rate, raising approximately $14,000,000 annually, with a sunset of this measure on November 30, 2026, requiring a citizen’s oversight committee, and all expenditures available for public review?
Soliz said Tuesday the council should be adopting a measure with the greatest probability of success.
“The measure adopted on the 24th has deficiencies that I think lessen its chances of approval. If we’re going to do something, why not do it correct the first time around? Measure C sunsets in 2021, if this newer measure fails we have our backs to the wall, a replacement would need passage in 2021, or we’ll really be in trouble,” said Soliz. “This is not a risk worth taking. Being a leader means trying your best to do things right the first time around. This is too important to the City to rely on the 2020 mulligan.”
If you go:
Antioch City Council
July 31, 2018 at 5:00 pm
200 H Street, Antioch CA