The Petaluma City Council is set to examine the Petaluma Planning Commission’s recommendation on freeway-facing signage and make its own decision Monday.
Petaluma City Council members on Monday expressed support for seeking an increase in the sales tax but first want to see if city employees, civic groups and the community would support a November ballot measure on it.
Petaluma City Council members on Monday will discuss asking residents to increase two local taxes — the citywide sales tax and a tax on those visiting Petaluma in local hotels. Faced with a continuing budget shrinkage, the seven-member council could vote to put either or both tax hikes on the November ballot. The discussion follows several tax increases that Sonoma County voters approved on the June ballot and a Petaluma initiative seeking a new parcel tax to pay for Petaluma parks that just qualified for the ballot.
Like many Sonoma County cities over the past several years, Petaluma has dramatically cut spending as revenues slid and costs climbed. City workers make do with reduced supplies, older equipment and fewer coworkers. They have taken pay cuts, given up raises and seen entire departments outsourced. City Councilwoman Tiffany Renee said the time has come to stop simply cutting, cutting, cutting.
The Petaluma City Council unanimously appointed a former council candidate Monday to the Planning Commission.
The Petaluma City Council Monday night agreed to ask North Bay legislators to vote against ratifying the governor’s gaming compact with the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, arguing the deal doesn’t take into account traffic and water problems the Rohnert Park casino-hotel complex could bring to the area.
Despite vocal opposition and calls for additional studies, a split Petaluma City Council early Tuesday approved the final environmental analysis of the Deer Creek Village shopping center. Two opponents have retained lawyers, although they didn’t overtly threaten legal action Monday night.
Petaluma’s budget outlook remains lean, although a new shopping center and improvements in the regional and local economy provide some hope, City Council members heard this week. In total, general fund revenues this fiscal year are down about $615,000. At the same time, $268,000 in spending was cut.
The Petaluma City Council voted 5-2 Monday to raise water and sewer rates while attaching future rate hikes to the pace of inflation. The water bill for a typical Petaluma resident will increase 3.8 percent in the new year, while the sewer bill will rise 2.6 percent. The hikes are the smallest rate increases in Petaluma in years, but some residents were still angry, wanting a break after years of soaring bills, particularly for sewer service.
St. Vincent de Paul High School may now proceed with plans to modify its athletic fields after the Petaluma City Council on Monday agreed to sell back to the school a narrow strip of land the school gave the city a half-century ago. Some councilmembers wanted to return the donated land for free, while others wanted to sell it for money. See the compromise crafted by Mayor David Glass.