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Rohnert Park officials broach idea of sales tax extension

By JEREMY HAY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Rohnert Park officials are gingerly exploring the idea of asking voters to extend a temporary sales tax that has been critical to restoring the city’s finances.

Rohnert Park residents approved Measure E — a five-year, half-cent tax — in 2010. It took full effect this year and is projected to bring in $2.4 million. It has helped draw down the city’s deficit to $330,000 from $2 million last year.

City Manager Gabe Gonzalez, who introduced the tax extension at budget discussions this week, said he is just being “prudent and pro-active.”

“I’m not proposing that we do an extension at this time, “ he said Thursday. “I’m simply bringing to light to the fact that we still have a structural deficit and Measure E is going to sunset in 3-1/2 years.”

City Councilmembers expressed varying degrees of reluctance, generally agreeing it’s too early to seriously consider.

“By this time next yer we should be in a position to know whether we should pursue this,” Mayor Jake Mackenzie said.

A close look at the economy and city revenue and commercial development trends is needed first, he said.

“There is a sunset on it for a reason,” Councilwoman Gina Belforte said. She too called for an analysis of economic trends.

Factors including the impact of the Green Music Center and commercial developments in Petaluma should be factored in, she said.

It was right to broach the subject, she said.

“Our finance department and our city manager are working so diligently to make sure we are ahead of the eight-ball not behind the eight-ball,” she said.

Voters would be wary of proposals to extend a tax that was sold as being temporary, Councilman Amy Ahanotu said, but that’s not a reason to reject the idea.

“Anything that has to do with raising taxes, voters are not in favor of it,” he said. “However, if you can show the benefits that will be generated, I think they are always open.”





15 Responses to “Rohnert Park officials broach idea of sales tax extension”

  1. Michael Sheehan says:

    A friend said that, “The problem with Americans is that they believe what their government tells them.”

    Can you spell gullible?

    The other problems are that 1) people vote for the same professional liars over and over again, 2) and that the liberals in this area never met a tax they didn’t like.

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  2. Paying Attention says:

    We need to have a say in where this some of that money the city council grabbed from us. Where did it go?

    Why can’t a little slice of it go to keeping the pools in each section open?

    We bought this house 20 years ago factoring in that there is a swimming pool in our neighborhood. False pretenses!

    So much for a family friendly city. It’s a greedy big lot city that uses it’s citizens as ATM machines.

    Time to leave.

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  3. Grapevines says:

    Typical politician, has anyone ever seen a politician ever, ever give something back that they are going to “borrow?”

    Like just “borrowing” 1/2 cent for 5 years, only a temporary measure they said. And now it’s something that has to be “extended?”

    How about they talk about not giving themselves raises and downgrading their salaries to what they are really worth. And put that to a vote of the taxpayers?

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  4. Big Fish says:

    This is the same tactic, raising the sales tax in the short term to help out the city, is happening all through California. It will only get worse in the next few years. There’s the increased state and county tax not to mention the horrors of the pending failed SMART train. This does not include the enormous costs of food and services for us local taxpayers. VOTE NO!!!

    Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  5. Jim Bennett says:

    To Graeme W.:
    as I’m sure you know Jake McKenzie is a devout ICLEI change agent.
    That conference in South Africa was an ICLEI convention.

    Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  6. Graeme Wellington says:

    Politicians are like diapers and need to be changed often for the same reasons.

    It proves beyond all possible doubt that Rohnert Park’s council is focused on getting more cash to spend than they are about figuring out how to balance their budget using the massive amount of money they already collect.

    The casino will be built by the time the tax expires, so that’s going to bail them out anyway. But just watch… they won’t focus on balancing their present books – they will be planning on spending more and more.

    The present deficit in Rohnert Park would not exist today as it now stands if the City Hall/Prison Visitor Center compound was not built and Rohnert Park didn’t foot the bill for MacKenzie’s numerous international environmental seminars. Does Rohnert Park really need to be represented in Durban South Africa?

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 2

  7. Taxpayer says:

    The tax is only 18 months old.Greedy dirtbags.

    Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

  8. James Todd says:

    This article PROVES that once a tax is in place that those in power are reluctant to get rid of it!

    Any council member that tries to keep this tax in place should get voted out! Any concil member that wants to let the tax expire (as the voters already decided) and wants to cut spending should be KEPT!

    Thumb up 28 Thumb down 1

  9. Rohnert Park Mary says:

    Good for Rohnert Park! Never look at cost cutting, just keep raising taxes. And the sales tax is perfect. Only the 1% buy anything so tax them. They can afford it and anyway they brought on this fiscal crisis and deserve.

    Hey, Pothole Mackenzie, you are an expert spending sales tax with your little train experience, why not make it a 30% sales tax to cover the necessary city expenses? Nobody will complain because nobody except the rich will be affected. Those wealthy fools shopping at WalMart.

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  10. Follower says:

    “Rohnert Park officials are gingerly exploring the idea of asking voters to extend a temporary sales tax that has been critical to covering up their fiscal abuse, waste and incompetence while allowing them to continue with more of the same.”

    Thumb up 29 Thumb down 1

  11. Missy says:

    Just say NO to higher taxes! How about the Supervisors and upper management types take a $200,000 salary decrease – instead of making $300,000 a year, just decrease their salaries. That SHOULD be on the ballot!

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 2

  12. Money Grubber says:

    Nope.

    They (the government) made verbal and contract promises for public employee pensions that are now vastly under-funded.

    So they can pay the $$$ they promised before they get a dime more out of me.

    NOPE. NO NEW TAXES. Only a fool would allow them to steal more $$$ from him.

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  13. Jim Bennett says:

    Broach.
    Is that anything like a breach?
    You know, like a breach of trust?

    Like a breach of an oath?

    Maybe it’s a thingy you wear on your lapel, like a badge of honor.

    Does an ICLEI cronie have honor?

    So many questions.

    Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2

  14. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    The city of RP has had no problem in spending that new-found wealth byway of increased taxes, but looking at the current activities guide, looks like the newest multi-million dollar M-pool is closed for the THIRD YEAR in a row.

    And 3 1/2 years out they want to start talking about extending the tax? Oh, never too early to start talking about increasing city employees salary and benefits, I guess, ’cause it sure isn’t being spent on road repair or resurfacing or improving our parks. You know, the ones with port-a-potties.

    Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

  15. David J. Spencer says:

    See.

    I told you so.

    A “temporary” tax is NEVER temporary.

    Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2

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